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Murder Detective: Episode 1 - Sharon Birchwood

Graham Hill, host of Murder Detective

Former senior Surrey detective and criminologist Graham Hill – best known for his work on the Madeleine McCann investigation - takes viewers inside some of the most complex and shocking cases of recent years.

Crime + Investigation’s brand-new series, Murder Detective, sees Graham bring his 30-year experience to provide a full 360-degree perspective on the inner workings, twists, and turns of the police work in these fascinating cases.

In each episode, he sheds light on painstaking investigations through interviews with the investigation officers, as well as those most affected by the horrific murders: the family and friends of the victims. Graham pairs his detective methodology with forensic science and insider knowledge to provide true crime fanatics with his expert understanding of how the cases were finally cracked.

The first episode covers the horrific death of 52-year-old Sharon Birchwood, who was killed at her home in the sleepy village of Ashtead, Surrey. In December 2007, Sharon was found by her ex-husband strangled to death and trussed up in parcel tape.

Despite divorcing in 1989, Sharon remained devoted to her ex-husband, George Birchwood, with him also being the sole beneficiary of her will. Suspicions, therefore, initially fell on him as he had debts of more than £150,000. However, he seemed to have an alibi and was pictured on CCTV during the time of Sharon’s murder.

After months of painstaking detective work and a crucial DNA breakthrough, a man named Paul Cryne became their prime suspect. Cryne was a former business associate of Sharon's and had flown from Thailand shortly before her death, staying with her mother in Banstead.

Further into the investigation, it was discovered that George paid Cryne £30,000 to kill Sharon so he could inherit his ex-wife’s £575,000 assets. Through interviews with the senior investigating officer and those who worked on the case, we learn how a case spanning two continents was solved and the killers brought to justice.

Available to stream on Crime + Investigation Play