Lyrical Testimonies: Looking for burglars under the bed

burglars under the bed

From the Metro 03/11/10:

A police marksman has been accused of putting song titles in evidence he gave at the inquest of a barrister shot during an armed siege.

The Metropolitan Police firearms officer, known only as Alpha Zulu 8 (AZ8), allegedly mentioned [song titles] during his verbal testimony on the death of Mark Saunders

It was not confirmed what the song titles are said to be. However, a review of the evidence has led to speculation about examples.

Ah – so it’s speculation then…

At one point he used the phrase ‘enough is enough’, – the subtitle of single No More Tears by Barbra Streisand and the name of a track by US band Stick To Your Guns.

He also said ‘point of no return’ – a Duran Duran hit – and used the words ‘line of fire’ recorded by rock band Journey.

He declared in one sentence ‘I am kicking myself’, which is the title of a song by New York rockers As Tall As Lions.

The officer described how ‘in quiet moments I think if there was another way we could have done it’. Quiet Moments is the title of a song by Chris de Burgh.

The Metro, such as it is, goes on to suggest other, even more tenuous possibilities. These are all common turns of phrase and it seems to have escaped common attention that this may have been pure coincidence.

If you cross check any testimony against the list of song titles ever released, I’m sure there would be a lot of matches.  Couldn’t this possibly be the case of an unfortunate collection of phrases and perhaps a colleague with a grudge who’s spent a bit of time Googling song titles?

As it is, I’m not convinced either way.  For the officer’s own sake, though, thank goodness ‘hit me baby one more time’ didn’t feature.

What’s clear is that the full circumstances need to be investigated before anyone starts calling for heads to roll. But even if it was deliberate, who’s to say this wasn’t symptomatic of this officer’s coping strategy for deaths which occur as part of his work? People suffering from post traumatic stress disorder have certainly been known to do more bizarre things.


  1. I am reminded of the Chambers episode where John Bird is challenged to fit the name of a sexual act into his submissions while his opposite number manages to namedrop the entire cast of Eastenders.

    I agree there's just far too much uncertainty about the allegation for all that much to be done about it. If it's true it's absolutely horrific conduct and the door shouldn't hit him on the way out but it needs to be true before that happens.

  2. Mmm, don't think *uck My Old Boots would be considered a common turn of phrase. I'd never heard of the expression before.

  3. Stephen - good point. Whatever happened to that? Went the same way as 'Trust' with Robson Green, I guess. The poor guy - all he can get now in the way of work is starring as himself in a fishing show. It's a far cry from his solider solider days!

    BM - clearly you aren't having the right kind of conversations! ;-)

  4. Mm, I'm no expert, but if I was trying to talk someone out of shooting themselves (or anyone else for that matter), don't think *uck My Old Boots would be the sort of thing I'd say.

  5. Hmmm... maybe Alfa Zula 8 was trying to call his bluff. :p

  6. Chambers! I'd forgotten about both the radio and the tv series and suddenly realised that I enjoyed both and miss both! The episode where names and titles had to be slipped in to submissions involved a buidling regulatory case that was apparently sooooooo boring counsel felt compelled to do this to keep their wits awake.

    No such excuse for the police officer though; if he did intend to insert song titles into his evidence for a bit of fun I'd say an inquest is the very last place you should choose to indulge yourself in such an antic.

  7. I haven't been able to find the 'fuck my old boots' in the transcripts.
    I haven't come across the phrase before myself by I've been told it's not uncommon in the army (and therfore, presumably also likely to be familiar to anyone who is or who works with people who are ex-army)

    I agree that most of the alleged song titled seem to be cliches or common phrases.

    IF he did deliberately try to ut song titles into his evidence then this is highly insensitive and inappropriate, but the evidence for it seems pretty weak.



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