Foreword by Michael Crompton

Posted by ac555 at Mar 31, 2015 11:10 AM |
Code of a Killer Writer, Michael Crompton introduces his ITV drama
Foreword by Michael Crompton

Source: ITV Press Centre

"A few years ago James Strong told me about the tragic events that happened in the villages of Narborough, Littlethorpe and Enderby in 1983 and 1986. He had made a documentary some ten years earlier and had always thought that the story had all the ingredients for a compelling drama. We took the idea to ITV and later to World Productions and they agreed - this story had to be seen.

"The violent murders of two fifteen year old girls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth occurred in a cluster of small villages in Leicestershire not far from the University of Leicester where a young genetic scientist, Alec Jeffreys, was working on how DNA could help understand inherited diseases. It’s here that he made the monumental discovery that showed, in the form of a simple bar code, that everyone was a combination of their parent’s DNA and that combination was unique to them. He called it genetic fingerprinting.

"DCS David Baker, the man leading the murder investigations, was something of a pioneer himself. He was one of the first to use tape recorders in police interviews and use computers to help collate information. When he heard about Alec Jeffreys’ invention - first used in immigration cases - he thought it would help determine the guilt of a young man who had confessed to one the murders. And so something we all now take for granted and is used all over the world was first tried out as part of a criminal investigation in Leicestershire to prove the innocence of a young man. This, in turn, led to the instigation of a massive blood screening that would eventually, after thousands of samples had been taken, force the killer’s hand.

I first met and spoke with both Alec and David and they have helped enormously to put the details into these incredible and sometimes unbelievable sequence of events.


Michael Crompton

"I first met and spoke with both Alec and David and they have helped enormously to put the details into these incredible and sometimes unbelievable sequence of events. In the process of writing a three-hour drama based on real lives there is always a tension between what really happened and how to show this in a coherent and dramatic way. My aim has been to create a film that best represents how extraordinary this story is.

"And then I got in touch with the mothers of Lynda and Dawn. And my experience of the story fundamentally changed. This was no longer purely an exciting crime drama. This was real. This happened. And for both mothers the cruel legacy of their daughter’s murders is still being experienced.

"When I first met Dawn Ashworth’s mother, Barbara, she shared with me her memories of Dawn, her experiences after her murder and how she has tried to cope ever since. It was through Barbara that I managed to contact Kath – the mother of Lynda Mann. I promised them both that they would be able to read the scripts and that my intention was to portray what had happened to them and their daughters as truthfully and as faithfully as possible.

"It has been quite a journey developing, writing and watching this drama come to life. One of the most moving moments I’ve ever had as a writer was when I got Kath and Barbara’s reaction to the scripts. There were some historical inaccuracies they asked me to put right - which of course I did - but above all they were deeply moved by how their experiences had been portrayed.

"This is the tale of two mothers and their families still mourning the loss of their daughters Lynda and Dawn. It is also an extraordinary tale of scientific invention and police endeavour that ultimately led to the capture and imprisonment of a very dangerous serial killer. It has changed lives and given the world the most important contribution to criminal investigation work since the fingerprint."

Michael Crompton, Writer Code of a Killer

Source: ITV Press Centre

Share this page: