Earlier this week we wrote about insurance companies have been using Facebook to locate potential benefit cheats, and now it seems that Facebook is being used to locate criminals.
Twenty-year-old Jennifer Wilson was attacked in the Walkabout bar (an Australian theme bar) in Watford when a woman thrust a glass into her face, cutting her badly. Jennifer’s attacker ran off after assaulting her, but Jennifer knew one of her friends who was with her at the time.
Knowing that the police were unlikely to find her attacker, Jennifer set about trawling through the friends list on Facebook of the person she recognised at the bar, until finally she found her assailant.
She then contacted the police to give them the name (Ashleigh Holliman), and address, of the woman who attacked her (courtesy of Facebook).
I went on Facebook and looked at a mutual friend’s profile and searched his friends list. As soon as I saw her picture I knew it was her. She is quite distinctive, with red hair.
I knew if there was any way I was going to find her it was on Facebook.
Jennifer’s lack of faith in the police was proved accurate when they attempted to speak to her assailant, but gave up when she wasn’t home. The police then asked Jennifer to find the address for her attacker’s work.
It’s a bit of a cheek to make me find her. They should have been doing the hard work, not me.
Jennifer identified her attacker when the police finally arrested her, and she was awarded £2,400 in compensation for her injuries.
This triumph for Facebook as a bringer of justice is one thing, but the reputation of the police was defended by a spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary:
Prior to police attendance the victim had made enquiries of her own and tracked down the offender on Facebook. She passed this information on to officers.
Meanwhile, officers also conducted other investigations of the offence, including viewing CCTV at the bar and identifying witnesses who we interviewed.
If only the police had used Facebook as well!