In the light of several recent high-profile cases, this documentary examines the phenomenon of ‘crocodile tears’: where people who feign innocence or make public appeals for information – often on camera – in reality have committed the crime themselves. Featuring several exclusive interviews and shedding new light on crimes that shocked the nation, this film looks beyond the fake tears to reveal stories of deception and betrayal.
Catching A Killer: Crocodile Tears re-examines the Philpott case, in which Mick and his wife Mairead, who took part in a press conference after their house fire killed six children, were finally convicted of their manslaughter in April 2013, along with their best friend Paul Mosley. With exclusive access to Paul Mosley’s brother Bryan, the film hears a tearful account of how residents were affected by the deaths of the six children. Bryan speaks for the first time of his anger regarding the actions of his brother and his part in the arson attack.
Exploring the Philpotts’ now infamous press conference after the fire, Darshna Soni, who covered the story for Channel 4 News, goes back to the scene. This was the point, she says, where everything changed. She recalls in detail the utter bewilderment among the assembled press as they tried to comprehend Mick Philpott’s extraordinary performance in front of the cameras.
Mick Philpott’s former partner of several years, Heather Keogh, was 14 when they started an affair. She was the ‘star’ witness in his trial, and for the first time on film, Heather reveals details about their relationship. She describes enduring often abusive, threatening and violent behaviour as well as the various methods Philpott would us to exercise control over her.
The film hears first hand testimony from the children’s two godparents, who raised money for the funerals and helped bring together the Derby community to support the Philpotts, only to discover this shocking betrayal as the real truth emerged. The Butler brothers, Darren and Jamie, who tried in vain to rescue the Philpott children from the house fire also speak about how Mick and Mairead stood back and did nothing during the blaze. Jamie in particular feels that the tragedy has destroyed his life. The brothers also talk about their decision to go to the police with their suspicions after the Philpotts’ press conference.
The film explores the case of Stuart Hazell, convicted in May 2013 for the murder of 12-year-old Tia Sharp in South London in August 2012. In a powerful and emotional interview, her father Steven Carter, talks about how Hazell, boyfriend to Tia’s grandmother, joined in the search for his daughter, deceiving everyone during the week she was missing.
Detective Constable Alison Grubb from the Metropolitan Police, whose role was to support the family throughout the search for Tia, speaks for the first time about Hazell's behaviour during the week following Tia’s disappearance. She also describes the moment she realised that Tia's body was in the house.
Local newspaper reporter, David Churchill, who covered Tia’s disappearance adds further information about the growing suspicions surrounding Hazell’s involvement and that his television interview – given the day before Tia’s body was discovered – only increased those doubts.
The disappearance and murder of Shafilea Ahmed in 2003, for which her parents were found guilty last year, is also examined. The couple's own lawyer, Milton Firman, gives his first account of his relationship with Shafilea’s parents and how he was convinced by their claims of innocence.
Simon Foy, former Head of Homicide and Serious Crime at Scotland Yard, offers his own insights into crocodile tears cases – whether they are on the increase and the clues that investigators look out for whilst examining a case.
Prod Co: Mentorn Media
Exec Prod: Steve Anderson
Dir: Nick London
Comm Ed: Emma Cooper