I've read Ian Wishart's book with much interest, taken notes in order to blog and assemble my thoughts in response. I had looked forward to something new and conclusive about the deaths of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope along with the conviction of Scott Watson. When it became apparent that the new book Elementary had concluded Watson was more than likely guilty I was keen to read the reasons for that conclusion. I expected an impartial logic particularly because IW has previously co-authored a book which made the claim that Watson was not guilty.
That impartial logic doesn't exist in Elementary. The book has a basic design to convince a reader that IW's conclusion is correct which is not evidenced based. It starts with descriptions of the character of psychopaths which Ian Wishart seeks to link to his apparently impartial and professional position as an investigative journalist. That doesn't work for me. Neither a Jury nor a Court decide guilt on the opinions of an investigative journalist assuming the role of a trained Psychiatrist on a person/patient whom they do not even consult. In fact a journalist is not a Psychiatrist. The only thing IW's opinion does is confirm a bias and give a preliminary warning that his 'diagnosis' of Watson is going to rely on the psychopath label to cover the cracks in the Watson guilty narrative. If this effort to paper over the cracks wasn't intentional then IW showed an alarming naivety if he believed it would not be seen that way. He refers to his diagnosis many times throughout the book as though it is backstop when the logic of his opinions lag.
Foremost, his need to rely on his opinion of Watson, is not the only crutch he takes into his analysis. Another is police tapes never released before. I had heard claims about these tapes and was obviously interested to know the contents. They are revealed toward the opening of the book and one can only consider that was another deliberate attempt to set the tone. In commenting about the tapes IW reveals his wont to allowing a reader the information while putting a spin on it which doesn't match the information. In the tapes Scott Watson's mother makes comments about Olivia and her parents which are unflattering, even perhaps exposing a jealousy. As IW continues his narrative commenting on the contents of the tapes he points out that the comments are callous and disturbing (my words, not his.) My thoughts had already jumped to the question as to whether Bev Watson had been aware that Olivia had been killed such was her language so removed from comments that one would expect. Near the end of the tape Bev Watson comments about the cost of the inquiry and who will have to pay for it when Olivia 'turns up.' Bev Watson had clearly considered that Olivia was not dead and would reappear. She was never gloating about the death of Olivia or Ben despite IW spinning it that way, he never retracted those comments perhaps hoping a reader would reach the same conclusion.
So IW attempted to paint a portrait of the Watson family which wasn't consistent with the secret tapes. The tapes also include talk of Watson shooting the head of the inquiry Rob Pope, in my opinion it was all just talk and didn't warrant inclusion in the book as I'm sure it would likely have been excluded from evidence at any trial as prejudicial and not helping the Crown case because the Watson family at least early on were convinced that the couple were not dead.
The 3rd backdrop to Elementary was IW's inability to hide his contempt or jealousy of Keith Hunter's work on the case. He appeared to write on the basis that for his conclusions to be accepted that he needed to belittle Hunter's work. He made some accusations against Hunter, conclusions which had a number of possibilities and not just one that appeared to be the best choice to devalue Hunter's work. I will give examples of this later. In the meantime to the notes:
According to IW psychopaths are around in numbers equivalent to about 4% of the population allowing to him to conclude that there were several psychopaths at Furneaux Lodge on New Years Eve 1997. Already IW had leapt to use of his diagnosis of SW as a psychopath, not with evidence or clinical support but from the expertise of an untrained layman. He then goes onto develop the theme that 'star' witness Guy Wallace, as IW calls him, recollections of dropping Olivia and Ben that night were compromised because he had discussed them with other witnesses right from the start. This allows IW to pull apart testimony that doesn't fit his theory while somehow stopping him applying the same restraints to testimony which suits him. He calls witnesses liars freely, when in fact they may simply be mistaken or as is the case most frequently, restricted to what IW claims they are saying. A reader is given no choice it's either IW's opinion or the highway.
Moving on, a PI Quintin working for the Watson family, asks members of the Watson family questions which they mention on the tapes, there is a sense in reading that some of the questions might have been asked on the behalf of the police - for some reason IW does pickup on that, nor indeed even mention it. Quintin says to Sandy, Scott's sister that someone is scared 'shitless' of Scott but she replies that she can't imagine that. Bev says that there is talk that Andrew, a friend of Scott, is scared of Scott. Sandy questions the veracity of that by saying 'but, he knew Scott' - reinforcing that because he knew him, and therefore his real character, it wouldn't be true.
IW writes that because SW stabbed someone is prison it fits the definition of psychopathy - however he doesn't bother to point out that his lack of supporting evidence that SW did actually stab someone when in prison. We find out that the man named Andrew above claimed to have been told by Scott to keep his mouth shut. Later on we discover that there is no reason connected to the murder revealed by IW that indeed, if it were true, was why Watson had told his friend to shut his mouth. This leaves the possible conclusion that Watson, Andrew and others may have been involved in dealing cannabis or some other criminal activity. In fact from the book it becomes clear that Watson's circle was shaken up by the police looking for evidence as would be expected in a murder inquiry and if they were involved in crime there was presumably plenty they should shut up about. There are allegations of Watson showing stress around this time and IW asks why. Well the answer is abundantly clear his boat had been seized and he was the centre of a murder inquiry.
Moving back to the PI Quinten he was told by Andrew that Scott was always stealing things, or he suspected he was but that the items always turned up again. This falls short of the mark IW was trying to make but he included it nevertheless to show SW as an untrustworthy thief. Andrew also reportedly didn't like Scott's attitude because he believed it was hard. My comment here would be that from what I've read SW made a point of trying to appear that way. He was however a small man and may have felt the need to present himself bigger and tougher than he was, none of which makes him guilty. Andrew asked SW if there was anything on the boat that he could be in trouble for after it had been seized. SW is claimed to have said no, 'that it was all cleaned up.' Taking into account the drug use and dealing alleged against Watson there are a number of conclusions as to what had been 'cleaned up.' Earlier Andrew described Scott as holding a hammer, and in another instance a rope 'like a garrote'. Taking into account there is no evidence known to me, and certainly not alleged by IW, involving Andrew in the deaths of Olivia or Ben, then Andrew must have been concerned about other dealings he and Scott may have been mutually involved in. IW reports that Andrew said that SW made inappropriate comments against women, something he also claimed about Guy Wallace who, a reader might think, was a target of IW to ensure belief of the validity of his theory. Going further one almost gets the impression that IW is suggesting that Guy Wallace was involved in the disappearance of the couple although he says that Wallace had a alibi.
IW writes about SW making comments about raping women and snuff movies. This, as far as the book goes, is not substantiated in the book other than by hearsay. There is another unsubstantiated claim by IW that a crewmate of Watson said that Watson would murder someone for the crewmate. How that finds its way into a credible book is a mystery. We find out that Scott changed the name of his boat frequently to avoid paying mooring fees - of course that is not proof that he killed Olivia and Ben. In fact I don't believe IW provides any proof of that, so the problem of the SW conviction continues on despite this book. Notable here, at about the same place in the book, is that SW talked about changing the colour of his boat long before New Years.
IW has Watson always carrying a flick knife yet we never heard this from Andrew or the reason why SW was allegedly threatening him. We do not know what Andrew might have known that Watson wanted him to remain silent about. A reader gets to read about a feud between Watson and another man over the shared ownership of a boat along with an allegation 95% 'sure' was 1 of 3 men yelling at another yachtie but who couldn't see properly in the night to identify him. It is revealed that feud was settled between the 2 men amicably.
There is much written about witnesses impressions of Watson 'left out by Hunter.' No idea where this is meant to take IW because there is much revealed already about Watson changing when drunk - something not that unusual with young men, and those older - with all the elements of bravado or insecurity perhaps. SW is even said to 'hate' Christians, hardly uncommon - check out general debate on any interactive blog.
We come to a stolen rifle said to be in Watson's possession. This comes from a person called Ryder in whom SW obviously had confidence in to trade stolen property. This group including Ryder, Andrew and others when picked apart seem to have dwelt in a twilight world where committing crime, or benefiting from it was not unusual.
Soon we happen upon North and South journalist Mike White, along with Hunter again, being attacked for not mentioning an unconfirmed incident some 9 years earlier that the New Year's Eve at Furneaux Lodge with a young lady at what appears to have been a skin heads pad. The event, if it happened, is said to reveal that despite what both men having said that SW had moderated his behaviour, in fact he had not. Relying on an unconfirmed incident following which no charges were laid is very odd, it was after all nearly a decade earlier than the disappearance of Smart and Hope. Another example where IW choose controversial alleged events to draw his picture of a psychopath his book relies upon. The public need hard evidence, not speculation, nor attacks on the shortcomings, or not, of other journalists.
We have conflicting reports that SW didn't drink much, or did, but that he smoked dope. I think the public already know that. Along with the fact he is or was a bit of bastard. What I expected the new book to bring, after it was announced that the author now felt Watson was guilty, was some substance. I don't think the book produced that. None of the contents go deep into proof of Watson's guilt, they are speculating on a foundation built by IW as SW bad, mad, even dangerous.
A sword incident is discussed, something also unreported to police as adding weight to an argument for guilt that has no weight. Dean Ryder, from that same circle as Watson, dealers, thieves from the narrative, says that Watson was capable of killing the couple and dumping them in the sea. On that subject I was reminded of the forensic insight of IW into psychopathy. We soon return to another tactic of the book, having the opinions expressed that some claimed Guy Wallace would rather lie than admit being wrong. It was important that Guy Wallace was wrong to suit the weak theories of IW, but that he relied upon it so much, and so blatantly, cast doubt again on his objectively - his investigative journalism. In general descriptions of Guy Wallace he reduces the man in a way many might feel unfair. He even fails to understand the consequences for Wallace of being a suspect in the murders. His view is ruthless to his cause of finally solving the case and it appears not to matter what gets in the way. For this reader, however, I needed clear evidence and not speculation or aspersions about character or motive of those not fitting the dialogue IW has attempted to sell. Often where IW excitedly reveals information from the police files he fails to appreciate that much of the information was not volunteered but resulted from questions from police. In other words to suit the case being built against Watson.
We hear about Wallace lying about going to Nelson. To IW this means that the man cannot be trusted, it never occurs to him that Wallace may be feeling the heat of being a suspect, or a star witness relied upon by police. From having this raised by IW it looks as though Guy Wallace was fortunate in having an alibi that night, one which IW appears to consider suspect because Wallace according to IW is a liar, refuses to admit being wrong, is a womaniser who makes lewd comments and who (my words) doesn't fit the IW world view of a good guy - even, one could suspect, not a christian. It seems to be missed by IW that Wallace wasn't keen to be framed for a crime to which he was connected as a suspect.
What does emerge from the wandering of IW's logic is that police were interested in Watson right from the beginning because he was well known to them. No surprise there apart from the failure of IW to connect that if Watson was so well known many local witnesses would have been a source of information - particularly as to identifying Watson being in the company of the deceased couple. That didn't happen before the book Elementary, and hasn't done since its publication. That information is more important than a character analysis of one of the witness and a psychiatric evaluation of Watson. On that basis the book is a let down, reads as something developed for a captive market, a milking of a cash cow.
Rather than repeat each time that IW relied on his interpretations of what witnesses or those making statements had said any reader may have hoped that IW have found proof positive of Watson's guilt rather than a stretched out analysis of what witnesses said from which IW could choose that which most suited his narrative. The middle of the book is bogged down with IW underlining of criticisms of Hunter in particular and the repetitive descriptions of eye witnesses. He didn't seem to realize that the main point he was making is that there is a lot of confusion among the descriptions none of which promote the Crown case, but which, alternatively weakened it for its lack of being able to clearly put Watson with the couple on his yacht or any other vessel. Over this was the point that IW was diverting from the key issues of the case, the questions that needed to be answered without the character attacks on some witnesses, police and journalists. Proof was needed not repeated criticism.
I noted at 33% of the way through the book that I didn't consider IW has made in progress in support of his headline 'Watson guilty.' We read account after account in which Watson is clean shaven, or unshaven, his height, his manner, his eyes, the length of his hair. Yawn really, people already know about the discrepancies in the evidence of witnesses to identity. People really need to know about the critical time when Watson, according to his theory, was on board his boat - along with the couple who were silent while Watson woke up people on other boats he was tied up to in order to continue the party. I wanted to know about the absence of screams, how the up front and dangerous Watson backed off every single time his behavior was called out that night. Watson might have been acting lecherously, though why if he had his victims somehow stowed away on his boat was he going onto other boats looking for company. Doesn't make sense, Nor does the silence from the couple, their decision to go aboard the yacht of an apparent, lecherous stranger. If they, according to this scenario, were alive in the morning why didn't they wake when their temporary bed set sail. It's hard to buy that they didn't, just like they didn't scream, or fight back when Watson had attacked them, also doesn't explain why he was seeking out female company on other yachts soon after or before he apparently attacked the couple. This is weak ground for the case of Watson's guilt and which IW totally ignored, preferring to rely on his psychiatric analysis of Watson and his ability to explain the identifications of witnesses of people and things he never witnessed himself.
IW brings his own argument and SW not being clean shaven by saying that the majority of witnesses said that he was not clean shaven. On IW's own theory of eye witness corruption because of witnesses talking to one another (and in fact police, reading in the media etc, gossiping) his argument or opinion renders the ids hopelessly unreliable. IW has done this in his book, even turning the process into a majority argument as to which witnesses are right and which witnesses are not. This is not investigative journalism but rather adjusting information that is reliable and unreliable into shape to suit a theory.
'Imagine what are the chances of 2 identical looking me, both psychopaths (underlined again by the author), being in the same bar at the same time and attracting the same attention from different witnesses.' In fact many of the witnesses said different things so the same attention idea does not apply, asking people to 'imagine' applies even less weight because throughout his book, and indeed right from the start, IW has deliberately created the picture he endeavors to make his readers imagine starting with a psychopath, parents allegedly supporting him despite knowing that he was the killer, a sex pervert, people in fear of him (but still somehow working with him and being friends) and so it goes on - no need for imagination as Mr Wishart has indicated what must be imagined, in fact arranged in order that there may be little other choice unless one is interested in how and if the couple went aboard the Blade, ie positive proof.
There is evidence of Watson apparently falling over drunk, swaying on his feet, having drunk a bottle of rum, being clearly intoxicated and stoned. How therefore did he convince an aware young couple to go with him to his yacht, have them remain silent while he went to wake up neighbors on other yachts to party in the small hours, propositioning women. In fact proposition women when it is claimed he already had one captive on board his yacht along with a man apparently bigger than the diminutive Watson. We read about the fiery exchanges between Olivia and those that allowed her bunk to be used on the Tamarack, a bunk she had paid for, of others sleeping on the decks. When did she become suddenly silent and compliant, the evidence is lacking to say that happened on Watson's yacht The Blade. Considering that Watson was inviting women from the boats his yacht was tied to - where did that put the couple. Wishart entirely misses that point as I did until just now.
All the evidence about persons in the bar that may have been Watson is a red herring, he admitted being in the bar. A reader is asked to jump from Watson's conduct (or some one that perhaps was Watson) on the prowl in the bar to therefore believing that he and the couple were dropped off to his boat in silence, no voices, no laughing, no screaming, no yells of rage, sounds of fighting - absolutely nothing and no witness saying that they saw that group go aboard the Blade led by the drunken Watson. And, as we now know, thanks to IW's book, inviting other women onto his boat during the time the whole police case argued that the couple were on his boat. Big fail there.
IW tries to convince a reader that the photo of Watson being clean shaven is only as good as the person camera and lens. When something favours Watson it is illusionary, in fact photo shopped IW later claims. When Watson isn't placed going aboard with the couple by Guy Wallace it is because Wallace is an unreliable liar who might only be reliable if he was prepared to agree with IW. When witnesses deny seeing SW they are unreliable their memories corrupted recollections enhanced from speaking to other witnesses.
Popping back to the secret tapes I have to wonder why IW question Bev Watson about her comments on the tape regarding Olivia and her parents. Logic would suggest only 1 answer, because she had already vindicated her position on the tapes themselves - she had not believed that Olivia was dead and IW knows that. That is a long way from a mother distressed that he son was in trouble and that she somehow supported him knowing he was guilty. None of that stops IW from overlooking what favours Watson by deliberately turning facts into something they are not.
IW blames the police for not clearing up that there was no mystery ketch. However, because IW has taken a point of view, one that less than subtlety is to upsurp Keith Hunter and therefore sell his book, IW has only added to the lack of clear and pivotal evidence against SW. Ted Walsh, like Guy Wallace and Roz McNeilly before him becomes unreliable - in fact a target of the pen of IW. This criticism is from a person who was not there, and who is trying to convince the public that he was mistaken in his former view that SW was not guilty. IW appears to have a condescending view of readers and witnesses alike. If the witness does not say something in support of IW theory, IW simply explains why the witness is wrong and tells the reader what the witness actually saw. Where doubt lingers, phrases such 'criminally psychopathic personality' 'snuff movies' etc are rolled out again and again to fill the gaps.
Despite the volumes of criticism of Hunter and White as journalists from IW the author takes emotive language and conclusions to a new level in his claim to be critical, another example 'so what are the odd? We have 2 psychopaths prone to violence, and rape and murder fantasies, drunk and on drugs, with a Jekyll and Hyde personality matching the description of the missing man?" A reader will know that Watson has apparently no arrest record for rape, backed down each time when confronted with people telling him to 'f' off, and that rape and murder fantasies may not even exist. Again why would 'Wallace be hearing voices in his head or gilding the lily' as IW puts it? Emotive nonsense. Guy Wallace could have done himself a big favour by remaining compliant with police and his first accounts. He gains nothing from the conflict that has ensued since he retracted his identification of Watson being with the couple, in fact he loses from it and IW demonstrates this in a most ruthless way in order to sell his book. More on that later.
Calming down from the tirade against Guy Wallace, what the forensic psychiatrist/investigative journalist somehow overlooks in forgetting about his readers, and his job, is that all the controversy surrounding Wallace is reason for a retrial. Indeed, something for a jury to evaluate, along with the retracted position of Roz McNeilly (who IW fails to land a punch against) and the retracted statement of the prison inmate who heard the confession. No mention of that confession which apparently did not have any detail supporting the new position of IW regarding accompliches.
IW goes into a lot of drivel about gangs. A line that the police obviously investigated and turned away from. That doesn't stop IW, if mentioning snuff movies won't help convince a reader then surely the mention of gangs will help. Another demonstrable flaw is the claim by IW that the reason Guy Wallace 'lied' to police was because he could not afford $2000 an hour to pay for a lawyer. 20 or so years ago its arguable than no lawyer in NZ charged out at that rate, it would be rare if indeed credible that such a rate would even apply today. IW made stuff up.
'Elementary' generally bogs down in the middle of book on either side are repeats of descriptions, no substance other than comparing the descriptions time and again. If had decided to blog about the book I would have skipped to the end rather than read what had been repeated again, and again. We hear about SW height going from 5ft 8 to 6 foot, slurring his words, swaying back and forth, inebriated and having trouble standing. Nothing about the key factors of this case, no break through no support for the fact that even on IW's account Watson's conviction is suspect because there may have been more for the Jury to consider. There are changes from a 't' shirt to a grey jumper, from drunkeness to being sober. A bloody mess. I wanted to know about hairs on the blanket which are not even mentioned in the book, I wanted, expected Wishart, to step back and bring into play the way Watson's Application for the Prerogative of Mercy had been dealt with, real evidence, not confusion in order to make Wishart right but others wrong.
In Chapter 17 we see another example of IW blatantly overlooking what a witness says. The water taxi driver Mullen says 'I do no recall taking only 1 passenger on my water taxi out to the yacht. The procedure we adopted was to fill the taxi with as many people as it could possibly take, in a safe manner. I doubt that I would have left the wharf with only 1 passenger, although it could have occurred but I can't remember doing it.'
IW takes that statement literally but entirely overlooks the qualification. He uses the statement to claim that Watson is a liar and then attacks Hunter for overlooking it. As in other places he frequently overlooks what a witness actually says in order to promote his theory. That is unfair. Particularly because Wishart damns the defence lawyer at the trial for doing (in IW's opinion) exactly the same thing. It is worrying as to why a journalist so blatantly twists the facts, particular where the reader can read them and see that what the author says is in conflict with what the witness has said.
Scott Watson says that he didn't speak to anybody on the yacht the Blanco the Blade was tied up to that night, that is after he was dropped off from the Lodge. However a female witness says she woke up and looked toward the cabin door asking 'what are you doing in here?' She says the person who responded sounded really uneducated and either drunk or drugged. As the conversation continues, the woman's partner becomes involved, by now in his narrative IW has decided that the man at the door is in fact Watson, it no doubt was. The man, Watson, offers to 'look after' the woman for the man. He is told to 'f' off and leaves. Watson in his own statements admits going aboard the other yachts that The Blade was tied up and looking for a party, calling the sleepers 'pikers' and so on. That he may have confused 1 yacht for another does not make him a liar as IW zeroes in onto convince the reader but ignores the real evidence - that Watson could not have afforded another woman or man to come aboard his yacht had the couple been there.
The investigative journalist is completely silent as this point on making any comment about the apparent absurdity of Watson already having a silent couple on board going looking for a partner. What a reader learns is that Watson when told to go away, just as happened many times on shore, actually left. Confusion follows as to what time The Blade left it's mooring later. What there is absolutely no confusion about is that there had been no noise indicating anyone else was aboard The Blade with Watson and there remains not one witness to this day who puts the couple together with Watson on board The Blade. Every re-interpreted description in the world, every aside about Bev Watson, about Watson himself cannot, and has not bridged the gap, of putting Olivia and Ben with Watson on his yacht that morning. When I speak about noise, I mean no laughing, loud talking as those drunk might do, no music, no screaming or thuds of violence.
Instead IW makes great purchase of his belief that 'no one drunk, who was awake nearly 24 hours, falls asleep and then wakes up in the space of an hour, noiselessly unties his boat and slips away before sunrise.' That's an opinion readers will judge from their own experiences. That lack of noise is definitely inconsistent with the sounds of murder or a young couple being woken by the thud of a diesel motor only a few metres from where they may have slept.
In Chapter 20 we go into details about SW painting his boat. This is a tired old argument. IW himself admits that Watson had been talking about repainting his yacht in the months leading up to New Year's Day. I think IW confuses the matter further than it has been already. I've reached a point recently in accepting that because Watson and The Blade were so well known in the area, fresh paint wasn't going to fool anybody. If you knew Watson you knew his yacht whatever color it was painted. Around this time the character attacks on a friend of Watson, Zapper and his children, begin with a disturbing feature with which IW finishes his book and which I will write about toward the end here. According to IW most of those Watson associated with were in his control in some way. Because of the fact Zapper would be convicted of growing dope we should not forget Watson's other friends in Picton and consider that Zapper most likely supplied Watson with dope and he could have on sold to others. Jumping to a scenario that Zapper would place himself at risk to help Watson hide his involvement in murder is a jump too far. It was far more likely that Zapper would have been offered a deal to 'rat on' Watson and have his cannabis operation/conviction handled in a manner less destructive to himself and family.
Later we read about a young lad saying he saw 2 men on The Blade but IW can't produce this 2nd person or any evidence reliably supporting it. He mentions some possible candidates but frankly admits a cold trail. That doesn't stop his theory however, or his attacks on the drug dealer zapper and his 2 children. He accuses zapper of enlisting his children to being 'accessories after the fact to murder.' As for the 2 men theory a reader must wonder why that information wasn't in the withdrawn confession Watson is claimed to have made to a prison inmate. IW backs up the claim of the 2nd man theory on using the evidence of Sam Edwards, another water taxi driver who knew Watson and The Blade well. Looking at what Sam Edwards says however is that he saw The Blade from a 100 to 150 meters away, that Watson waved to him and that he was 'pretty sure' he saw another person on board. That was all the desperate IW needed, pretty sure is proof positive in his book. He of course makes no comment on Watson drawing attention to himself when he is in the depths of either dumping bodies or painting his boat in order that persons such as Sam Edwards will not recognise him.
It gets more bizarre. 'If Watson did kill Ben and Olivia, was he planning to to rendezvous with someone who could help him get rid of the bodies, and/or was he dropping off the mystery man on board?' IW asks. The planning for such a rendezvous required that Watson found somebody to take back to his yacht, that there was someone willing to involve themselves in a terribly sick act and be waiting at some pre-planned place and a pre-planned time beggars belief taking into account there is no evidence to support such a theory to this date, probability zero. That zero undermined further because Watson invited others onto his boat to have a 'good time' after the couple had been allegedly dropped off there. Rendezvous planned? Bloody daydream.
Final chapter in a book without surprises, well at least no surprises that weren't signaled from the outset and did not continue to regurgitated, tediously, throughout. We hear about 2 men handling corpse size bags one passing each corpse to the other in a dingy. I know that dingies are easy to tip, but I know more about handling heavy weight. Moving decomposing bodies with rigor mortis setting in, lifting them over a rail and down to someone in a dingy might be impossible. Assuming that the couple weight around 65 to 80 kgs I have to ask whey IW did not conduct a practical test on this claim, it would have taken little time and be easy to achieve. I think there is only 1 answer for that. I won't dwell here on the 'body bags' others have mentioned sails, I've wondered about freshly cut marijuana been whisked away in anticipation of heat going on in the area from police. I have no proof, but I'm more than confident about the handling of bodies (or something of equivalent weight) so easily as IW wants a reader to accept is pure bs. But I'll challenge Wishart to do the experiment, maybe he could invite Keith Hunter along/
IW for his faith leaps, pyschiatric evaluations, conclusions about people lying when they clearly could be simply mistaken might have shored up confidence in his impartiality had he conducted the body moving experiment before going to publication - that is what I believe a investigative journalist would do. He accepts himself that it would be difficult in the extreme and chaplinesque in execution - but that doesn't stop him from using it.
One final, disturbing point. I read recently details of claims that Watson had sent intimate photos of himself to a young girl, When the Justice Department investigated they found that they were sent from a prison in which Watson was not housed - a set up in other words. Here is something a reader might think is similar. It is in a PS to the book Elementary - presumable just for good measure.
Postscript: As this book was going to press, former Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne Stringer told me that Watson had not just 'confessed' to Zappa about the murders, but actually boasted about it, in the same breath making barely veiled lewd threats about Zappa's 13 year old daughter. Zappa told Stringer this directly, years later.