Buxton CID Come To My Rescue

Fred Handford Ball Beard Farm
Fred Handford at Ball Beard Farm 1974

3 March (again)

I decide to take matters into my own hands.

I find contact details for the Derbyshire Association of Retired Police Officers with the idea that I will try to track down any officers working at the time of Fred Handford’s disappearance in March 1976. I speak to Frank Gregory who suggests I call Buxton CID – since it is this office that would have been in charge of the investigation.

I call and speak to Detective Sergeant John Lowe. He is extremely helpful. Unfortunately he is not terribly hopeful.

“Even if it’s a major investigation we only keep files for 14 years,” he tells me.

I don’t ask what is classed as a major investigation but I feel the prospect of seeing a police report about Fred’s death slipping further and further away.

But looking back, I’ve made the same mistake again. I told John I was looking for information on Fred’s suicide. Again, I was taking what Janet told me at face value. What if Fred’s file makes no mention of suicide?

John said he would do a bit of digging and call me back.

4 March

Detective Sergeant John Lowe phones me back.

“Well, apparently there is a file on Fred Handford and it’s still open!” John sounds both pleased and surprised. “I’m hoping to get hold of it for you but it’s in the possession of Detective Chief Inspector Sam Slack and he’s in a meeting at the moment.”

I can’t thank John enough. I feel the last couple of days have not been a complete waste of time after all. I unbend from my computer keyboard to make a cup of tea but then catch sight of another email from Maria in Derbyshire Police communications dept. she doesn’t sound too happy that I’ve tried to make headway without her.

I fire off an apology and tell myself I have to learn be patient or I’ll end up getting into trouble.

And even though I manage a little bit of patience I’m afraid I do end up getting into terrible trouble.

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