Jill emailed me late last night. She's normally quite bubbly, no matter what - but she seemed really down. Here's her email:
"Peter went to the police station, with our stand in solicitor and came away even more depressed. They are keeping the girls under the Police Evidence Act, even though they haven't issued us a receipt, and are going to hold another doggie line up...I don't really know what to say. They wouldn't let us bring the girls home and then bring them back for the line up. As the stand in solicitor said, it really does smell like collusion. What is this farmer doing to incite this sort of response from the police, and why are they doing it? Sorry, but can't cope with saying much more."
Having followed a case a few years back where the police dropped a very serious case against a man who was known to abduct and harm young girls due to a 'lack of evidence' (despite one young woman being fully prepared to give evidence in court) the Sussex police here do seem to be going more than that extra yard to keep this one farmer happy.
They've now spent fruitless months trying to find some evidence to link these two dogs with the farmers' dead, probably fully-insured sheep.
No one is condoning sheep worrying here, but these dogs were forensically examined by the police when they were first taken away and they found no traces of blood or wool. The only 'evidence' they have is circumstantial.
The two dogs were at large that night due to some cows breaking down their garden fence - they were not even serial strayers.
There had to be more than two dogs at large in Sussex that night; there are even big wild cats that have been known to attack sheep!
The list of possible suspects should be a very long one - not such a pathetically short one.
Imagine if every murder case were solved as soon as the police found a person without an alibi? Wouldn't our crime figures look so much better!
Perhaps you might imagine the earlier case about a man who worried women wasn't all that serious?
But the young woman in question looked very much younger than her years - making this man obviously attracted to children. The female police officers assigned to the case actually cried when they broke the news that they had to let the accused go. They all knew he was guilty, but they said they just lacked the forensic evidence needed to prove it in court, that the crown prosecution service wouldn't let them proceed when it was one person's word against the other.
So why isn't that the case with two harmless Poodles who escape from a garden?
Those dogs get banged up for months without a trial, without a shred of evidence.
It would seem that the law much better protects sheep than women in this country! And that Poodles have no rights at all.
Jill - please be brave - the oxygen of publicity would put the police in the dock here if you tell your side of the story. They surely can't be allowed to hold random dogs hostage with no evidence.
And what court of law is going to accept an ID parade so long after the dark, windy night in question. And if the 'witness' is the same one as last time - since when do they get two goes at picking the police-favoured suspect?
Will the police keep having these ridiculous parades until someone picks the dog they want picked?
I don't know much about the Evidence Act - there appears to be overwhelming evidence that someone at Sussex police is losing the plot!