Mobile phones: criminal and terrorist investigations

Student's sex party that ended in murder
Records showing the location of the phone also helped disprove her claim to have been elsewhere at the time of the murder. The police chief, Arturo De Felice, said Knox had "crumbled and confessed" under intense questioning. "There were holes in her alibi and her mobile phone records were crucial," he said. Police also found text messages from Lumumba, fixing a meeting between them at 8.35pm on November 1, the night Miss Kercher died.
Daily Telegraph, 8 November 2007
Abandoned mobile phones may have led police to arrests on M6
Several people arrested in connection with the terror attacks were traced after mobile telephones found intact in the failed London car bombs yielded crucial information. As soon as police recovered the phones from the two Mercedes cars, officers went to work on the Sim cards, gathering a wealth of intelligence from the numbers stored. Within 24 hours antiterrorist police were heading to Glasgow searching for members of the terrorist cell and warning the largest shopping centre in the area to increase the security in its car parks.
The Times, 3 July 2007
He said I'd never see Mum again'
... Mr Voisey was familiar with the area because he had lived there at one time and a mobile phone used by him was tracked to the area at the relevant time.
The Times, October 2006
Kidnapped girl's text message leads police to bunker prison
A girl who was kidnapped from her school bus and held in a booby-trapped bunker for 11 days has been rescued after stealing her abductor’s mobile phone and sending a text message to her mother. Police were able to trace which mobile phone masts had transmitted the signal and pinpointed the spot where 14-year-old Elizabeth Shoaf was being held — about a mile from her home in Lugoff, South Carolina.
The Times, 18 September 2006
Terror charges: Police statement
As 11 people are charged in connection with an alleged plot to blow up several transatlantic airliners, police spoke for the first time about the investigation ... The scale is immense. Enquiries will span the globe. The enormity of the alleged plot will be matched only by our determination to follow every lead and line of enquiry. There have been 69 searches. These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces. As well as the bomb making equipment, we have found more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items of removable storage media such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs. So far, from the computers alone, we have removed some 6,000 gigabytes of data.
BBC News, 21 August 2006
File the Bin Laden Phone Leak Under 'Urban Myths'
... Bergen noted that as early as 1997, bin Laden's men were very concerned about electronic surveillance. "They scanned us electronically," he said, because they were worried that anyone meeting with bin Laden "might have some tracking device from some intelligence agency." In 1996, the Chechen insurgent leader Dzhokhar Dudayev was killed by a Russian missile that locked in to his satellite phone signal.
The Washington Post, 22 December 2005
EU states agree phone record law
EU interior ministers have agreed that phone records must be kept for at least 12 months, and e-mail data for at least six, to help the fight against terror.
BBC News, 12 October 2005
Did the 7/7 bus bomber lose his nerve for train blast mission?
... The youngest of the July 7 bombers, he made three desperate telephone calls begging for help from the other members of the terror cell minutes before he blew himself up on a London bus. The frantic last messages are seen by Scotland Yard as vivid proof that the British-born Muslim extremists intended to die in the attacks ...
The Times, 25 August 2005
Suspect 'tracked by phone calls'
Italian investigators say police used cell phone records to track down one of the suspects in the failed suicide bombings in London on 21 July. Hussain Osman was arrested on Friday in his brother's flat on the outskirts of the Italian capital, Rome. He was traced using call records from two cell phone numbers, supplied to the Italians by UK police.
BBC, 1 August 2005
Abigail: phone trace puts suspect in area
A trace by police on the mobile phone records of Richard Cazaly, the man who committed suicide after being questioned as a potential witness in the stabbing of Abigail Witchalls, has indicated that he was in the area when the attack was carried out. Detectives investigating the attack on Mrs Witchalls have performed a procedure known as triangulation, in which they pinpoint the location of a mobile phone at a precise moment. The results indicate that it is entirely possible for Mr Cazaly, a gardener who lived in the Surrey village of Little Bookham where the assault occurred, to have been responsible for the knife attack.
Telegraph, 14 May 2005
Soldier traced by mobile signal
... Normally it would be quite easy for Mr Bristowe to find which cell site had taken these messages, enabling him to pinpoint the area from where she sent them. But because new year is the busiest time for mobile telephone traffic a signal can be diverted to the first mast that is free, possibly hundreds of miles away. Mr Bristowe followed the “powered down” signal from mast to mast and reduced the possibilities to two areas — Milton, north of Cambridge, and Madingley, where Ms Geeson’s body was found.
The Times, 10 January 2005
Mobile phones - the new fingerprints
Ian Huntley's conviction for the murder of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman was based partly on crucial mobile phone evidence - which nowadays is almost as useful to the police as fingerprints or DNA ... In the past five years, dozens of murderers have been convicted partly as a result of evidence about their mobile phones or those of their victims. Detectives now routinely contact the mobile phone networks and obtain details of phone calls made by and to a murder victim and from the prime suspects.
BBC News, 18 December 2003
Soham trial: 'Crucial' phone evidence
... As the jury gathered on Wednesday to hear evidence for the first time, Mr Latham told them: "To know where a telephone was, or was not, can be very informative. "Telephone evidence, we say, is very important in this case." He highlighted the fact that operators keep a record of all calls, and the spot where a mobile phone was used can be traced to within a short distance ... A final signal sent by Jessica's phone as it was turned off at 1846 BST, just 30 minutes after the best friends vanished, provided vital information, the prosecution said ... By "a quirk" its last communication was sent to a telecoms mast in nearby Burwell, which could only be accessed from a handful of spots around Soham - including the area outside Mr Huntley's home, it was claimed.
BBC News, 6 November 2003
Five die in gas-filled car
... She had received a phone call from her husband saying he would harm the children. Police managed to trace his mobile to Llangollen and a North Wales Police dog handler located the car.
BBC News, 27 March 2003

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