6. Police Reports
Following Eddie’s trial, his sister Susan Caddick drafted a lengthy complaint which listed numerous serious defects in Merseyside Police’s investigation into Paula’s death and the process leading to her brother’s conviction.
In November 1993, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) appointed Det. Supt. Graham Gooch of Lancashire Police to reinvestigate the case. He submitted his final report in July 1994.
Even today - more than two decades later - the full contents of this report have not been disclosed.
Det. Supt. Gooch and his team re-interviewed all witnesses spoken to during the Merseyside Police investigation. They also traced fresh witnesses, and sought independent expert opinion.
At Eddie’s trial, the prosecution suggested market researcher Maureen Brannan was mistaken about the time she’d seen Paula alive. Det. Supt. Gooch confirmed her timings by interviewing neighbours who’d also completed surveys with her that day. Merseyside Police had failed to carry out this elementary corroborative exercise.
The Gooch Report was highly critical of Merseyside Police. A catalogue of irregularities and misconduct was uncovered including the fact that key alibi witnesses supporting Eddie’s account that he was at work throughout the afternoon of 4 June 1992 were not interviewed by Merseyside Police.
Lancashire Police interviews with Merseyside officers involved in the original investigation showed officers knew Paula may have doubted the baby was Eddie’s contrary to the image portrayed to the trial jury. Nothing at the scene suggested foul play. The interview notes emphasise there was no evidence of a struggle. Paula’s body had no marks or defensive injuries.
A woman named Maureen Piper had told Merseyside Police she’d spoken to Paula in Moreton Post Office (1.3 miles from Upton) at 12.40pm on the day of her death. The police told her she must have mistaken Paula for her sister Susan Dubost so:
‘we are scrubbing your statement’.
Mrs Piper walked to work with Mrs Dubost for some fifteen years and lived opposite her. She also knew Paula well who was very different in appearance from her sister. Merseyside Police failed to interview a friend of Mrs Piper who was with her on the day in question. They also neglected to speak to another friend who on 5 June 1992 informed her of Paula’s death. Mrs Piper remarked:
"I was only speaking to her yesterday in the post office".
In 2005, Mrs Piper said the claim she’d confused the two sisters was absurd:
“I have known them all their lives and, in the first place, they don't look alike and second, one was eight and a half months pregnant. How could I be mistaken?"
When she made her statement to Merseyside Police, she believed Eddie was guilty having heard (baseless) rumours he’d left work to kill his wife in the afternoon. Mrs Piper had no reason to lie about seeing Paula.
The Humphreys Report
Det. Supt. Gooch’s inquiry was not the first time the circumstances of the case had been subject to critical review by a senior police officer.
In August 1992, Det. Supt. Ted Humphreys of Merseyside Police completed an internal review of the response and management of the scene of Paula’s death. Merseyside Police have never disclosed what prompted them to commission this report. His conclusions were damning.
Det. Supt. Humphreys was highly critical of major blunders committed by those attending the scene where:
‘even basic procedures were not adhered to’.
There was he said a:
‘lack of scene preservation and destruction of potential evidence by personnel attending’.
The Coroner’s Officer should not have assumed control:
‘making crucial decisions about the investigation and mode of death before the arrival of the CID’.
He should not have cut down Paula’s body nor made any decision:
‘with regards to photographic evidence of the body in situ’.
The task of the Police Surgeon in such cases is solely to determine whether the person is dead. His prolonged presence at the scene:
‘could well have disturbed, or indeed destroyed, evidence’.
Det. Supt. Humphreys criticised the fact that Eddie and his parents were allowed to leave the property before CID arrived and the:
“lack of communication between personnel present as to what had been attended to and by whom”.
‘destruction of the ligature following post mortem’
was commented on by Det. Supt. Humphreys as:
The Humphreys Report was not disclosed to Eddie Gilfoyle’s lawyers prior to his 1993 trial.
(That are relevant to this chapter)
On receiving the report, the PCA sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether criminal charges should be brought against specific officers. In November 1994 the DPP stated there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of securing criminal convictions against any officer involved in the case.
The file was returned to the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police with a view to disciplinary action against thirteen officers. With Eddie’s appeal against conviction pending, his lawyers asked for details of the charges brought against the officers. Their request was refused.
The Chief Constable also denied lawyers access to the Gooch Report. At the end of August 1995 – days before Eddie’s appeal hearing commenced - the High Court granted the defence limited access to parts of the report. The edited version omitted Det. Supt. Gooch’s conclusions and opinions on the case. Significant parts of the released report contain blank pages and gaps with many paragraphs edited out.