In most cases, businesses and homeowners use CCTV as a deterrent for the prevention of minor crimes, and to catch thieves and vandals in the act. But on some occasions, CCTV has played a central role in solving serious offences.
In these instances, crucial evidence captured on CCTV has taken serious criminals off the streets and even saved lives.
Here are 4 of the most chilling major crimes that were solved using CCTV evidence.
1. Jack Taylor
The death of Jack Taylor was originally ruled a suicidal overdose of GHB, even though his family had reported that Taylor did not use drugs or express any suicidal ideation. However, the inquest found CCTV evidence that showed Taylor walking with an unidentified man shortly before he was found dead by St Margaret’s Churchyard on the 15th of September 2015.
This unidentified man was later determined to be Stephen Port, and after Jack Taylor’s sisters researched his death extensively, they found an article about two other men - Gabriel Kovari and Daniel Whitworth - who were also found dead in the same graveyard.
This provided the link between the dead men and Stephen Port, who was found guilty of these three murders and one other.
Family members of Port’s first victims argued that Jack Taylor’s death may have been prevented if police had more thoroughly investigated the CCTV footage around the time of the initial murders, and if they hadn't dismissed the deaths as drug-related fatalities.
2. Leiby Kletzky
In Brooklyn, New York, Hasidic boy Leiby Kletzky went missing at 8pm on July 11th 2011. Tragically, his body was discovered just 48 hours later in the apartment of murderer Levi Aron.
Aron may not have been caught by the police if local altruist Yaakov German hadn't taken an interest in the case.
German's son had worked as a teacher at the summer camp that Kletzky had attended, and German obtained video surveillance from his son that showed the boy leaving the camp at 4:50pm wearing a backpack and a striped shirt.
German then traced Kletzky’s usual route towards his home using video surveillance from local businesses, and although some business owners were reluctant to share their CCTV footage with a member of the public, German's persistence and determination won through.
It was when the trail appeared to have reached a dead end that German checked the CCTV footage of a local car dealership. The video showed Kletzky with a man who was later identified as Levi Aron. Aron was then tracked to a local dentist’s office, where he was identified by his dental records.
Aron confessed to the murder immediately and disclosed the location of the boy's body. Despite attempts by his lawyers to establish defences of 'mistaken identity' and 'insanity', Aron was sentenced to 40 years in jail for his crime.
3. Mee Kuen Chong
Holidaymakers in Devon made a gruesome discovery when they found the decapitated body of an elderly woman in a woodland off Bennett Road, Salcombe in June 2021.
The victim was identified as Mee Kuen Chong, a vulnerable woman with a history of schizophrenia whose supposed friend, 34-year-old Jemma Mitchell, was 'healing' her.
CCTV evidence revealed that shortly before Chong was reported missing, Mitchell walked from her home in Willesden to the house of the victim. Mitchell was carrying a large blue suitcase, and can be seen to emerge from Chong’s home with the suitcase looking heavier than before, along with a backpack containing the victim’s financial paperwork.
Cameras then captured Mitchell as she stopped her car near Bristol, and later visited a garage close to Salcombe due to the car suffering a flat tyre. The car was then spotted undergoing a wheel change mere metres from where Chong’s body would later be discovered.
Due to the strength of the CCTV evidence, Jemma Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 34 years.
4. Sabina Nessa
The body of murdered 28-year-old primary school teacher Sabina Nessa was discovered by a dog walker in Cator Park in Kidbrooke, South-East London on the 18th of September 2021.
Sussex resident Koci Selamaj - who had a history of interpersonal violence - was charged with the murder of Nessa after being caught on CCTV several times while committing the crime.
Firstly, he was filmed buying a rolling pin at a nearby Sainsbury’s, suggesting an intent to commit murder using a blunt force instrument. CCTV at the scene of the crime also showed Selamaj using a vehicle warning triangle as a weapon against Nessa.
Based on this irrefutable evidence, Selamaj was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years.
CCTV systems can be a valuable tool to prevent crimes and bring anyone who does commit an offence to justice. Contact us to learn more.