Crime documentary series examining four successfully-solved murder cases from Northern Ireland, featuring dramatic reconstruction, expert witnesses and archive footage.
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Donaghadee is a quiet seaside town,
a place where many older people retire to enjoy the sea air and the views.
An idyllic spot, perhaps, but for 77 year-old Tilly Campbell, it became the stuff of nightmares.
In the early hours of the 9th October, 2006, as Tilly Campbell lay sleeping,
an intruder shattered the early morning silence.
'Fire and rescue.'
'Hello. I'm calling from Donaghadee. 46 Barnagh Park.
'I'm just walking over to the centre.
'The house that I've just walked past,
'it looks like there's smoke coming out some of the windows.
-Yeah, in Donaghadee.'
Shortly after ten to 6, on Monday 9th of October,
I was alerted to a fire by my regional control centre, via pager,
to turn out to take charge of an incident of a house fire.
46 Barnagh Park is a semi-detached bungalow in a quiet area of the town.
It was owned by widow, Tilly Campbell, and on first arriving at the scene,
firemen were hopeful that the fire was not extensive.
However, on closer inspection, it appeared that the house had been broken into
and the officers were immediately concerned for possible occupants.
With in a few minutes after that time, one of the fire-fighters came out to say they had found someone,
and to get resuscitation equipment ready for the casualty being brought out.
Basically once the crew had sat the lady down, it was apparent very quickly
that due to her horrific injuries that she had sustained, that life was extinct.
As the victim's injuries were not fire related,
Assistant Group Commander Stanley Bentley entered the building himself
to try to determine the cause of the fire, suspecting foul play.
I looked and I found two seats of fire.
There was one just outside a bedroom, at a chair
which led to a hot press that was completely destroyed by fire.
And there was a second attempt at a fire at a mattress in an adjoining bedroom.
At this stage I believed and I knew was dealing with more than a fire incident and a fire fatality.
This was due to the injuries that Tilly Campbell had received
and the fact that the rear door had been forced,
the fact that there were two seats of fire, and also that we'd found a knife in one of the bedrooms.
It was then that I had to make the decision to preserve the scene as much as possible.
In the meantime, fire crews continued their duties ensuring the flames had
-not spread to adjoining properties.
-Hello, anyone home?
Tilly's immediate neighbour was on holiday but her son was at home.
Firemen had difficulty rousing him
and were surprised he had not responded to the arrival of emergency services hours earlier.
They entered to check that the fire next door had no ill effects on persons or property.
I went up, checked the roof space
which I found a considerable amount of smoke but no fire passage had made its way through,
so we were content at the fact that no fire had travelled through into that home.
Robert Harvey explained he had just woken up after a heavy drinking session.
But officers noticed the washing machine was on.
Just didn't add up, the fact that if he was sleeping his washing machine was on,
and basically he was not emotional to the fact that there had been a fire next door.
The firemen informed police on the scene about their suspicions
and two officers went back to speak with Robert Harvey.
When we went to knock on the door,
there was no answer.
The house appeared to be in darkness and it was quiet.
I thought this was a bit strange as the fire service had just spoken
to the occupant a few minutes previously.
I knocked on the door a number of times and there was no answer,
so I consulted with my colleague and we decided that due to the evidence that we already had,
and our suspicions, that we would have to force entry to speak to the occupant.
Where's your washing machine?
I opened up the door of the washing machine and observed it to be full of clothing.
I started to remove the clothing as I wasn't sure
whether the washing machine might let more water in at some stage, had I left it.
I set the clothing on the floor
and happened to notice a pair of trainers in the washing machine as well.
The first thing that came to mind was you'll ruin your drum
by putting trainers in your washing machine, and I decided to say this to Robert Harvey,
just to see if I could build up some rapport with him.
He didn't make any reply, or his facial expression didn't change at all.
Robert Harvey then left the kitchen and made his way towards one of the bedrooms.
I followed him, I just wanted to keep him in sight at all times.
He sat down on his bed and picked up a paintbrush
and began to paint on an easel which he had just beside the bed.
-So, you're an artist?
At his feet I noticed there was, what appeared to be scissors, a hatchet and a jemmy,
lying in a small pile.
I asked him what was the purpose of the tools that were lying on the floor.
He says he had them for his own protection.
When I entered 48 Barnagh Park, Robert Harvey remained calm throughout.
He was neither obstructive or particularly helpful.
But he didn't make any expression as to why the police were forcing their way into his house.
When I mentioned to him that Tilly Campbell was dead, he did show surprise which appeared genuine.
He made a few comments but then he immediately returned to his calm state.
As a result of Robert Harvey's actions in which he failed
to respond to the fire service...
..he failed to respond to the police officers knocking the door...
..on police entering the property and finding a number of weapons...
..on finding the washing machine where clothes had recently been washed...
..and the fact that Tilly Campbell had been brutally murdered in her home,
officers at the scene, under the direction of the local CID,
arrested Robert Harvey on suspicion of murder.
Tilly Campbell was a 77-year-old widow and grandmother who lived in
Donaghadee for nearly 60 years. She'd only moved to Barnagh Park
following the death of her husband in November 2004.
Tilly was a strong willed and popular woman,
but had becoming increasingly more housebound due to ill health.
She was unable to walk, or carry items for long distances,
but was saving for a mobility scooter to maintain her independence.
I first heard about my mother's death, it must have been...
..around 6.30, seven o'clock or something on the Tuesday morning.
I can't really remember.
And it was my son come running into my bedroom to say
that my brother had phoned to let him know that my mother was dead
and there had been a fire in the house.
I just got up and threw things on me, got into the car and just drove
on autopilot really. I can't remember a lot more driving down to Donaghadee,
to see what had happened.
From the information we had been given, from what I can remember,
I don't think it was a lot, just that there was a fire and we didn't know she was murdered at the time.
And everything to me, really, it was a blank.
When I got down there, you know, my uncle, he was already there with the police.
They more or less told me what had happened.
And I, you know, you're devastated. You're numb.
I didn't know what to do.
It was just a shock.
The morning that I found out that Tilly had been murdered,
I was getting ready for work,
and it was early, it was about seven-ish.
And I was upstairs, my partner was downstairs. The knock came to the door.
And at that time in the morning you do wonder, but it was Don.
And I had thought she had fallen, that Tilly had fallen again, because she fell before.
But it was Don coming in to tell me that his mother was dead and there had been a fire.
And I went into hysterics.
When Robert Harvey was arrested and taken to Serious Crime at Antrim,
he undergoes a process of forensic recovery.
We take swabs of his hand, we take head hair combings, etcetera.
We also seize the clothing that he was wearing.
At the time of his arrest he was wearing a dark-coloured hooded top, boxer shorts
and a pair of slippers.
They would have been removed from him and he would have been supplied with a police issue boiler suit.
When I found out that he was arrested, I was, you know,
I was so angry, because he lived next door to my mum and I couldn't
believe that anybody could do anything like that.
Especially to my mum.
I'd only seen him now and again. But you never really seen his face
cos he always had hoods and kept his head down.
I didn't really know what he looked like.
Despite the fact that Robert Harvey was well-known to local police,
there was a feeling of incredulity throughout the community that
he could have murdered his defenceless neighbour.
A post-mortem was carried out on Tilly Campbell's body.
As a result of that post-mortem, the pathologist stated that he believed
the cause of death was as a result of multiple injuries.
However, most notably, extensive head injuries resulted in Tilly's death.
Tilly Campbell had extensive defence wounds to her upper and lower arms that would be consistent
with Tilly having put up quite a struggle with her assailant,
and it is clear to us that Tilly did fight back.
Police investigating the death of a pensioner in County Down
have launched a murder enquiry.
77-year-old Tilly Campbell was found dead by fire officers
as they attended her house at Barnagh Park, in Donaghadee, early this morning.
A 36-year-old man was arrested.
Police now had 96 hours to hold and question Robert Harvey.
Forensic teams were immediately dispatched
to try and gather evidence linking the suspect to the crime.
In the main double bedroom where Mrs Campbell would have slept, there was
an extensive distribution of blood staining on the walls.
The blood was projected and it had been sprayed up.
It gave an impression of an origin point which would have been about the head of the bed.
Most of the blood was sprayed onto the wall, what one would expect from
blows being delivered to someone's head.
There was also a smeared mark on the wall, just beside the light switch at the door.
And that would have appeared to have come from someone's hand.
Perhaps they were searching for the light switch, and they've smeared the blood down the wall.
The single spare room was beside the main master bedroom.
There was evidence of blood staining on the bed.
There was also extremely heavy blood staining
on the floor just beside the head of the bed.
There was some splashing of blood
on the adjacent furniture, on the wardrobe.
My impression is that she'd been deposited on the bed
and she had slipped off the bed on to the floor beside it
and as she impacted the floor,
the blood would have been sprayed at that time.
Blood spatter evidence would prove crucial,
but even more damning was the comprehensive glass fragment evidence,
which tied the suspect irrefutably to the scene of the crime.
The door from the porch to the outside back yard,
the glass had been broken and that was most probably
the point of access to the house itself.
A pair of trainers had been recovered from the scene.
They were packaged and submitted to us for examination,
including an examination for the presence of any glass particles
that may have been present.
On looking through the microscope,
we're able to visualise the presence of glass
and each fragment is removed on the tip of a scalpel.
At the conclusion of our examination,
we were able to demonstrate that one of the trainers
found at the rear of the suspect's property
had left a footwear mark just at the entrance point
to the main dwelling at the broken double-glazed unit.
We were able to demonstrate that one of those trainers also bore glass,
not only from that broken glass unit,
but from both broken panes at the back door.
To find glass from all three broken windows,
not only on the trainers in question,
but also on the clothing within the washing machine,
in my opinion, this would indicate that the wearer of these items of clothing and footwear
would have been the perpetrator of the incident in question.
This forensic information was relayed to the investigating officer,
who confronted Robert Harvey in the interview room.
There was glass found in those training shoes,
that is a match for the double-glazing that was broken.
So that puts those training shoes in that lean-to
at the time the glass was smashed.
No. It's been matched.
It's been forensically matched.
The glass from the window and the glass from the training shoe.
Robert, tell us what happened.
Tell me what happened, Robert.
Tell me why you killed her.
You killed Tilly Campbell in cold blood.
Further forensic discoveries
tightened the net even more around the suspect.
The weapons recovered at the time of Harvey's arrest
from the bedroom - scissors, a hammer and a hatchet.
We were able to locate Robert Harvey's DNA
and we were also able to locate a mixed profile,
believed to be that of both Robert Harvey and Matilda Campbell.
The scissors would be conducive with some of the injuries found
on Tilly's body during the postmortem examination.
The boxer shorts removed from Harvey were submitted for examination.
They were found to have blood that matched that of Tilly Campbell
on the waistband and also to the rear of the boxer shorts
both inside and outside of the boxer shorts.
During the interview process, Robert Harvey attempted to explain
his movements during the course of the evening.
He said he laid down for the evening and did not awaken
until the fire service rapped at his window,
some time about 5:55am.
We found during the 96-hour period this to be incorrect,
that Robert Harvey at 3:25am had actually topped up his mobile phone.
This was put to him during interview and he alleged that was an accident
and maybe he had rolled over his phone during the course of the night.
These phone records are telling us that your phone was topped up at 3:26am.
And you admit you had the phone and there was nobody with you.
Your phone dialled that number, OK?
You're telling me that you might have rolled over.
Your phone's dialled 4,4,4,4.
And some part of your body has been able to get the exact code
of a top up card for you to top it up.
No. Your phone was topped up. Why are you lying to us?
Despite the mounting forensic evidence against him,
Harvey continued to deny any involvement in the murder of Tilly Campbell.
However, when confronted with the last piece of evidence,
a bloody sock, his demeanour visibly changed.
During the immediate follow up and the search of the locality,
police officers found a sock in a bin
that belonged to number 39 Barnagh Park.
This bin was a recycling bin
and the people that owned the property would categorically state
that nothing would be found in that bin other than recycling materials.
This sock bore the blood of Tilly Campbell.
The bin was seized as an item and taken away for further examination.
Do you have a pair of socks like that?
You see it's covered in blood?
Is that your sock?
You don't know?
Whose blood's that?
Is it Tilly's blood?
During the interview process,
Robert Harvey had remained calm. He had responded to questions,
up till the eighth interview, out of 16.
He did show concern when we put to him that we had recovered
a bloodied sock in the bin belonging to number 39.
From the ninth interview onwards,
Robert Harvey either chose not to speak
or was selective in his responses.
We have got your trainer and we have got a footmark of that trainer
in the lean-to. We've got glass
from the double-glazed window pane.
We've got a knife that matches knives from your kitchen.
Do you see where we're going here?
-I know where you're going, aye.
-We believe that you killed Tilly
in cold blood.
I didn't kill Tilly.
'When this evidence that we had'
in our possession at that time was put to Robert Harvey
in the final interviews, although he did not respond,
he physically slumped to the weight of the evidence put before him.
On 13th October 2006,
at five past midnight, I charged Robert Harvey
with the murder of Tilly Campbell.
Robert Harvey was remanded in custody
by Downpatrick Magistrates' Court on 13th October 2006.
A protracted trial took place,
in which Harvey replaced his legal team,
before finally pleading guilty.
He was convicted of the murder of Matilda Campbell
on 22nd September 2009.
It was when the court was going on and at the end of it,
when Justice Hart was reading out details.
It was atrocious. I didn't even know half of that beforehand,
until the end.
'It was horrible. It was your worst nightmare,
'hearing what he had actually done to Mum.'
NEWSREADER: A man has been sentenced
to at least 23 years in jail for killing his elderly neighbour
in Donaghadee in County Down.
Robert George Harvey admitted murdering Tilly Campbell,
who was 77,
and lived in Barnagh Park. The court was told that,
three years ago, Harvey was drunk when he broke into the woman's house
and battered her with an axe.
The judge said it was "an exceptionally violent
"and prolonged assault" and that Harvey
had shown his victim "absolutely no mercy".
I suppose it was the best outcome you could have got, you know,
because the most was 25 years and he got 23.
But it's, for us, it's not long enough, you know.
There's times I've thought that, if the death penalty was there,
but then again, for somebody like that,
that would have been too quick.
During his trial, it emerged that Robert Harvey
had 32 convictions for burglary.
He also had convictions for criminal damage and threats to kill.
Police footage taken at his home reveals some
of the paraphernalia and spoils of his criminal activity.
Robert Harvey never gave a convincing account of the events
of 9th October, the night Tilly Campbell died.
However, police investigations did establish his movements.
It emerged that, on the night of the murder,
Harvey had been drinking heavily with friends and had stated
he would "kill for money".
He had continued drinking after leaving their company
and ploughed the last of his money into a poker machine.
Broke and frustrated, he returned to Barnagh Park in the early hours.
He broke into the property of his vulnerable and elderly neighbour,
believing her to have cash in the house,
saved up for a new mobility scooter.
When Tilly Campbell interrupted the burglary,
Robert Harvey attacked her in a frenzy.
He dragged her into the spare room,
where she was later found, huddled on the floor.
After the murder, Harvey set fire to the house,
in an attempt to cover his crime.
This was a brutal and vicious attack upon a defenceless 77-year-old lady,
in her own home - the place where she should feel safe
and where she'd feel comfortable.
She was attacked by a neighbour, someone known to her.
This lady should have been able to
live out her days in her home, peacefully.
After the death of her husband, Tilly Campbell had sought
the comfort and security of Barnagh Park and its community.
She had no idea that her life would be taken
by someone so close to home.
Tilly was a trusting, popular member of the community,
who believed in giving, not taking.
She was like a mother to me. She took me under her wing.
She would have done extra things for me.
She loved her home, her garden. That is my memories of Tilly.
Tilly loved to shop.
We went to car boot sales. We went round things like that.
She loved anything to do with bargains or pruck, she loved it.
And when she was going shopping,
I would come out, everyday clothes, coat over the top,
but Tilly would come out, the shoes would have matched the scarf,
the handbag - everything matched. She always was glamorous.
Everybody knew Tilly.
Her grandkids have lost their grandmother and their kids
have lost their great-grandmother.
They'll never remember, because they were too young...
to remember my mum...
..so they have missed out on her love.
I'd like Tilly to be remembered the way that she was -
happy, she was very, very glamorous, she was full of life
and she just loved, she loved company and she loved
going out and meeting people.
and she loved a bit of craic. She really was full of life.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Crime documentary series examining four successfully-solved murder cases from Northern Ireland, featuring dramatic reconstruction, expert witnesses and archive footage. The victims' relatives speak about the pain of their loss and the devastating impact it has had on their lives.