Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Murder of Stuart Ludlum

The murder of taxi driver Stuart Ludlum at Cromford railway station a couple of years ago, was the result of a sick and twisted desire of a gun nut wanting to know how it feels when you kill a person.  Mr Ludlum was an innocent victim who just happened to be the person who turned up at the station.  The murderer was Colin Cheetham, a member of gun clubs who seemed obsessed with weapons.

    What happened was that a call came into the firm Mr Ludlum worked for, and it was he who took the call saying he would be there shortly.  Later on, Mr Ludlum had not returned and his car was discovered by the station.  An arm was dangling from a partially open tailgate.  Police were quickly summoned and set up a murder inquiry.  The man in charge was Tony Blockley, and he quickly had to eliminate numerous suspects, such as family and close friends.  This did cause resentment but it was necessary as most murder victims know their killer.  Mr Blockley then widened his enquiry and the phone call to Mr Ludlum was from a mobile phone, and eventually they received some information from phone providers and discovered it was a pay and go.  Detective work narrowed it down to being purchased at a supermarket, plus a top-up.  The phone was paid for in cash but the top-up was bought with petrol and so it was paid for by card.  They obtained the purchasers` name; Colin Cheetham.

    Cheetham was arrested but the Police never found the murder weapon.  However, they did recover shell casings from a gun club Cheetham used and they matched.  A .22 rifle.  When taken to court, Cheetham displayed absolutely no emotion or remorse, and was convicted owing to much evidence from cctv, receipts, shell casings.  He was lifed off.  Cheetham put much planning into his crime, making sure his victim arrived at the station when it was at it`s quietest.  It was just to see what it was like to kill!  My view on his motive is that shooting at targets became a bore to him and he wanted to shoot human targets.  A completely different concept.  I do not know how long his sentence is, but with his planning, and that any victim would do should ensure a whole life sentence.  Tony Blockley believes that if he had not been caught, he would have gone on to become a serial killer.  Stuart Ludlum lost his life just through the fantasy of a gun nut.  His family and friends lost a much loved and respected man.