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Real Crime UK (Stephen Hilder Story)

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posted on Mar, 23 2010 @ 09:56 AM
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I recently watched a very intriguing show on the Seven network called Real Crime. I have never watched it before but felt drawn to the story after seeing the opening talk about the mysterious death of a skydiver named Stephen Hilder. The show involved a review of the case where interviews with police, friends and forensic experts were conducted. I am not sure what it is, but by the end of it I got the feeling that something was being overlooked. I felt very unsatisfied by the way it ended. I am hoping ATS members can give more information about any further developments in the case.

(This story apparently received massive publicity at the time, 2003, and many details about the case were released to the public domain.)

I have done a few searches and not much information has come up. I did find this article which seems to sum up the events pretty well:

The man who fell to earth

It is a bit of a read, but please do take the time to browse through because it puts the whole case into context rather well.

If you don't have the time, a concise summary of the events can be found on Wikipedia:

(Stephen Hilder - Wikipedia)


Stephen Hilder was a 20-year-old Officer Cadet at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, England. On 4 July 2003, Hilder fell 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) to his death when, during a skydive, both his main and reserve parachutes failed.
[edit] Investigation

The police initially reported that his parachute had been sabotaged, with the risers (fabric connectors between the harness and lines) for his reserve parachute having been cut.[1] A 10-month search for a murderer with a motive ensued, with two of Hilder's friends, Adrian Blair and David Mason, being arrested at one point and later released without charge.[2] However, from the results of DNA tests on the parachute straps, which revealed the presence of Hilder's DNA alone, the police concluded that Hilder had cut the straps himself.[3][4] A coroner's inquest recorded an open verdict on the cause of Hilder's death.[5]

The jump took place at the Hibaldstow Parachute Centre in Lincolnshire. One of the few leads that the police had when searching for a saboteur was an old issue of an American skydiving magazine, found at the drop zone, that reported one of the four other recorded cases of sabotaged parachutes in the history of skydiving. The reports of sabotage had noticeable effects on the subsequent behaviour of parachutists at championship events, and resulted in an increase in the sales of secure bags for the storage of equipment.[6]

The laboratory test results that revealed that Hilder had cut his own straps caused bafflement for both the police and Hilder's family and friends, who had seen no indication that Hilder was intending to commit suicide. One police officer stated that "Nothing we have discovered during the investigation and no one we have interviewed has said anything to suggest Stephen may have been contemplating killing himself.".[4]

On 25 March 2005, North Lincolnshire coroner Stewart Atkinson refused to accept that the death was a suicide after a forensic scientist testified that the lack of DNA could be attributable to a saboteur wearing gloves. Atkinson also stated that there was no proof that someone else was responsible for the straps being cut, either.[5]


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Things that do not add up about the situation for ME:
- While the case has been informally labelled a suicide (considering the limited evidence at disposal), the case remains open and police are awaiting more information.

- While the lack of evidence suggests a suicide, testimony from his close friends, family and video footage taken of him the day before and moments before the dive do not indicate anything was wrong. (While it is true he could have been very skilled at hiding his feelings, experts in human psychology have noted the person in the video seems completely oblivious to the events that would take place that day.)

- 3 people were considered suspects. 2 of those are identified as being close friends of Stephen's. Their names were leaked to the media moments before they were arrested and taken into police custody. The origin of this leak has not been confirmed. According to the documentary this third person has NEVER been identified or his relationship to the victim revealed. [This was the thing that stood out most for me. I could not believe they so casually brushed off this information on the show].

- Also very interesting was the revelation why one of those two close friends was considered a suspect. Apparently he had a poster of Bart Simpson outside his door at home that had a quote "I didn't do it, you didn't see me do it, you can't prove anything..." while Bart has a worried expression of guilt on his face. From the moment I saw one of the friends, I did not like the guy. Something about him seemed odd - in his eyes. (I cannot recall which one he was, but it was either Adrian Blair or David Mason).

- If it was a suicide, it seems like one of the worst methods one could think of. The way he died seems like somebody wanted to make it appear like a suicide without it being too obvious (leaving a note, email on his computer etc.) That he tried to activate both his primary and reserve parachutes before falling to his death indicates suicide was very unlikely.

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I have more to add but I am very interested if other members can recall this case and mention anything else I have not included. Please do take the time to read the article - it might refresh your memory about the story. This is one bizarre case and I have a strong feeling that it was murder.

[edit on 23/3/2010 by Dark Ghost]




posted on Mar, 23 2010 @ 10:58 AM
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I got chills big chills,

This particular case casually has popped in to my head during meditatons I have a strong gut feeling that this person was murdered and that there is much more to this story than meets the eye.

If and its a bif IF, IF it was suicide then I couldn't think of a better way to go, freefalling in tranquil surroundings.

Star and flag from me - for puting the chills down my spine.



[edit on 23-3-2010 by franspeakfree]



posted on Mar, 23 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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I remember this as clear as day although i didn't dig into at the time as i was 19 and not interested is this type of stuff, just figured it was a suicide.

but i can remember it clearly as it happened on my mothers birthday, Nice find ill have a better read later.



posted on Mar, 24 2010 @ 02:44 AM
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Originally posted by franspeakfree
I got chills big chills,

This particular case casually has popped in to my head during meditatons I have a strong gut feeling that this person was murdered and that there is much more to this story than meets the eye.

If and its a bif IF, IF it was suicide then I couldn't think of a better way to go, freefalling in tranquil surroundings.

Star and flag from me - for puting the chills down my spine.

Wow, freaky you get those feelings when meditating. Maybe his spirit is trying to communicate with you and let you know details about what happened.

I agree there appears to be so much more to the story. I think there is a big cover-up of sorts. I mean who was the 3rd person to be arrested and then released without charge? How did the media get the names of the 2 suspects before they were even arrested!

The suicide thing also seems unlikely to me. It is interesting you mention that it would be an attractive way to end one's life (compared to other means). I guess the fall would be a thrill but it just doesn't seem like a good option to me.

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Originally posted by CodenameDoeB
I remember this as clear as day although i didn't dig into at the time as i was 19 and not interested is this type of stuff, just figured it was a suicide.

but i can remember it clearly as it happened on my mothers birthday, Nice find ill have a better read later.

Glad you are able to recall the story. Please let me know if you have anything further to add after reading.

I hope more members that lived near that region at the time can give us some more information. It is a very bizarre series of events and still remains open.

[edit on 24/3/2010 by Dark Ghost]



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 06:21 PM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


Last night this incident popped in my mind - which often happens to me years down the line with 'strange' cases. I came across your post as well as this below. It also reminded me of 'body in bag spy Gareth Williams' case.

Skydiver murder: man, 24, arrested

Martin Wainwright
The Guardian, Tuesday 18 November 2003 03.01 GMT

Detectives hunting for the killer who expertly sliced a skydiver's parachutes, sending him on a 4,000-metre (13,000ft) plunge to his death, are questioning a man arrested early yesterday in Leeds.

The unnamed 24-year-old was held overnight at S#horpe police station, close to the airstrip at Hibaldstow where army cadet Stephen Hilder was taking part in free-fall manoeuvres in the final round of a national skydiving competition on July 4.

Humberside police made the move two weeks after interviewing members of Leeds University skydiving club who regularly use the airfield, and were there during a collegiate week when Mr Hilder's team also took part.

A spokeswoman could not confirm that the man arrested was a member of the club, but said that he had been detained on suspicion of murdering Hilder, who was 20, and in connection with a separate offence of criminal damage.

Two close friends of Hilder's at the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham, Wiltshire, were arrested on suspicion of murder last month. Adrian Blair, 19, who was a pallbearer at Hilder's funeral, and David Mason, also 19, were released after two days of questioning and are now on bail.

Inquiries into the tragedy have seen rumours about "nasty" rivalries over young female cadets at Shrivenham, as well as interviews with skydivers who were at a fancy dress party at Hibaldstow shortly before Hilder's death.

The sabotage of the cadet's reserve as well as main parachute was done by someone knowledgeable, according to police, who have focused for almost five months on the British skydiving community.

Only 78 skydivers were at Hibaldstow over the weekend when Hilder died and the killer appears to have been familiar with the base's collection of buildings.

Officers from the inquiry, led by Detective Superintendent Colin Andrews, have informed Hilder's parents at their home in Hereford of the latest arrest.

www.guardian.co.uk...



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