Former detective looks back on 40 years as investigator
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A former detective who worked on a series of notorious murder cases is retiring after four decades of service with Nottinghamshire Police.
Pete Clegg helped bring killers Paul Hutchinson, David Heiss and Peter Smith to justice while working in the force’s homicide unit between 2003 and 2012.
The former detective constable, who has most recently been working as a police investigator at West Bridgford police station, looked back on his career ahead of his final day with the force in January 2024.
“I have genuinely loved the job and my abiding memory will be the professionalism of the investigative teams I worked with,” Pete said. “I have made some great friends and we knew how to have a laugh. That is necessary in this job as a release.
“However, when a case came in we were all given a job to do and each of us knuckled down and did it.”
Pete says he always wanted to be a police officer but did not tell his family when he initially applied and was accepted into the force in 1982.
He said: “They were shocked when a sergeant turned up at the door and asked to see me. I think they wondered what I had done! When they got over the initial shock I remember everyone congratulating me and I look back on it as one of the best days of my life.”
After stints as a response officer in Broxtowe and Hyson Green, Pete was picked out by senior officers as having an ideal skillset to be a detective.
“My interview consisted of me being told by a detective superintendent that he had heard good things about me and I start on Monday,” he said.
“Being a detective just suited me. In that job the buck stops with you. You don’t go from job to job or pass things on, you just see it through.”
Pete was tasked with helping to set up a robbery squad after a series of robberies on students in the city, Radford and Hyson Green in the early 1990s.
The team was so successful that the number of street robberies was cut dramatically by the end of the 1990s.
Pete later moved to the homicide team in Nottinghamshire and worked on a number of high-profile murders.
He particularly remembers the forensic breakthrough which allowed detectives to solve the murder of Colette Aram, a 16-year-old who was kidnapped and murdered in Keyworth in 1983.
“This was a cold case which was cracked thanks to a groundbreaking scientist whose work with DNA helped us to convict Paul Hutchinson of Colette’s murder.
“I can still remember the day we got a 100 per cent match on his DNA.”
Pete also worked on the murder of student Matthew Pyke, who was brutally stabbed to death by David Heiss.
The 21-year-old German gamer had travelled to Nottingham and murdered Matthew after developing an obsession with his girlfriend.
“When he murdered Matthew, Heiss got blood all over his shoes,“ Pete said. “So he took a pair of his victim’s shoes. When we studied CCTV we could see he was hobbling because the shoes were a size too small for him.”
Another case Pete remembers is the tragic killing of Rachel Hudson, who was found murdered and wrapped in a carpet at Newstead Abbey.
“The family she had married into treated this poor woman as a slave and prisoner before brutally murdering her,” Pete said. “We were able to bring them to justice after fibres from the body were matched to their house and the boot of their car.”
Pete also worked on the early stages of the investigation into the murder of Mansfield pensioner Hilda Owen, who was killed by her neighbour Peter Smith so he could inherit her house and money.
“The murderers I interviewed were very different but there was often an arrogance to them and a belief they would not get caught. Some are very sly and there are others who simply refuse to admit what they have done despite all the evidence against them.”
Pete retired as an officer in 2012 but soon returned to the force in civilian roles on the firearms licensing team and latterly on the Managed Incident Team (MIT) at West Bridgford.
“I would encourage any young PCs who are considering becoming a detective and enjoy being challenged to give it a go.
“If you want to push yourself and have that grounding of a few years’ experience in response it could well be for you.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family but will miss the very special friendships you make working in police stations and on police teams,” he added.