Buckinghamshire, UK. On May 1, 2016, Paul Hemming killed his wife Natalie in the family home in Milton Keynes while their three children were asleep and then dumped her naked body in woodland 30 miles away. At his trial, Hemming admitted manslaughter but denied murder. He was convicted of murder in November 2016 and handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 20 years behind bars.
Here some excerpts from Paul Hemming’s interview with police:
What we look for in this interview is for Paul Hemming to issue a reliable denial, to say “I didn’t kill my wife Natalie” not simply parroting back the interviewer’s words but in the free editing process and we look for him to show the protection of the “wall of truth”.
The “wall of truth” is an impenetrable psychological barrier that often leads innocent people to few words, as the subject has no need to persuade anyone of anything.
We begin every statement analysis expecting truth, and it is the unexpected that confronts us as possibly deceptive.
Detective: The children don’t have a grave to visit. Her mother doesn’t have a grave to visit and we believe that the only person who does know where her body lies right now is you. So we will ask you a final time. What account or explanation can you give as to why she has disappeared and is presumed dead?
This question is good to allow Paul Hemming to say “I didn’t kill my wife Natalie”, “I don’t know where her body lies” and “I am telling the truth”. This would be the “wall of truth”.
A reliable denial has 3 components:
1. the pronoun “I”
2. past tense verb “did not” or “didn’t”
3. accusation answered
If a denial has more than 3 or less than 3 components, it is no longer reliable.
“I did not kill my wife Natalie” followed by “I told the truth” while addressing the denial, it would more than 99% likely to be true.
A deceptive person will alter his denial to avoid a direct lie.
Paul Hemming: I have not killed Natalie. I have not hurt Natalie. I did tell you this in the previous interview. There are four people that are very important to me in this world, Natalie is one of those people. You just mentioned the other three as well, my children. All four of those people are very very important to me. I did not hurt her. I had no intention of hurting her and I certainly did not kill her and I have given you the truth as to what happened in the house on the Sunday. I have told you why the car was on the drive yet I see in none of your statements you’ve asked anybody, including my children, if they knew the car was broken or if the car had a problem and if mum wanted me to fix it. Since Sunday I have spent every hour with my children except the day they went to school.
Note that Paul Hemming is unable to say “I didn’t kill my wife Natalie” which was expected.
“I have not killed Natalie” is an unreliable denial. Hemming substituted “didn’t” with “have not” violating component two of a reliable denial.
“I have not hurt Natalie” is an unreliable denial. Hemming substituted “didn’t” with “have not” violating component two of a reliable denial and substituted “kill” with the softer “hurt” violating component three of a reliable denial.
“I did tell you this in the previous interview”, to repeat something doesn’t make it the truth.
“There are four people that are very important to me in this world, Natalie is one of those people. You just mentioned the other three as well, my children. All four of those people are very very important to me”, this is unnecessary to say and unexpected and show a need to convince that innocent people don’t have.
“I did not hurt her” is an unreliable denial. Hemming substituted “kill” with the softer “hurt” violating component three of a reliable denial.
“I had no intention of hurting her” is an unreliable denial that open to the possibility that he did hurt her.
In the sentence “and I certainly did not kill her” the use of “certainly” not only confirms that he did hurt her but open to the possibility that she was still alive when he disposed of her in woodland.
The vague “and I have given you the truth as to what happened in the house on the Sunday” is an unreliable denial. Sunday when?
“Since Sunday I have spent every hour with my children except the day they went to school” is an attempt to sell himself as a good father, this is the “good guy/bad guy factor” in Statement Analysis.
Detective: Can you see the picture that we have built and the concern that we have?
Paul Hemming: First I’m very concern about Natalie as well.
Detective: You don’t seem very upset.
Paul Hemming: Its been like a thought though time here and my mind is… like… in my heart I know she’s not dead, in my heart I know that. I wish Natalie would walk through the door but I cannot make miracles happen.
Note that to avoid a direct lie he says that he knows “in his heart that she’s not dead”, only in his heart not in the reality.
“I wish Natalie would walk through the door but I cannot make miracles happen” is an incriminating sentence and is in contradiction with what he just said.
Moreover “I wish Natalie would walk through the door” is probably true and it’s due to the stressful position he is right now.
Detective: On the evening of Sunday May the first, 2016, Natalie Hemming went missing we are now five days past and nobody have seen her or heard from her, you were the last person to see her alive, you said that Natalie returned home on Sunday and disclosed you she was raped, “Oh my God, amazing”, she texted her friend back on that Sunday morning, “We had sex three times”, we say those are not the words of a lady who has been raped, we say that (inaudible) worry to be out with a guy from work you knew fancied her, we say that is ok to her on that Sunday night when she returned home and you found out she had sex with another man and you killed her, do you have anything to say?
Please note that the detective says “you killed her” but doesn’t make any reference to the disposal of Natalie’s body or to the cleaning of the house.
Paul Hemming: What you’re saying is that I have killed my partner, I have disposed of her body, I have tidied the house, made it look pristine, managed to cook them dinner, and many more things without them knowing.
Please note that when Hemming says “I have disposed of her body, I have tidied the house, made it look pristine, managed to cook them dinner, and many more things” he is not parroting anybody’s words, these are simply beautiful embedded admissions.
Paul Hemming: It’s exactly what we’re saying.
Paul Hemming: Impossible.
This is true, the night of the murder, one of the child woke up because the noise, went downstairs and saw his father Paul Hemming scrubbing the floor in the living room while his mum’s body was wrapped in a rug.
Paul Hemming was unable to issue a reliable denial instead he made some incriminating admissions.
He has guilty knowledge of what happened to his wife Natalie.