January 30th, 2007

strikethrough: LJ for the fail

British law and the avoidance thereof in the 1960s

My Google-fu has brought me to pages like these and these, which explain how murder charges work in the English court system--and that's helpful, but not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm writing a fanfic for a video game (Scratches) which takes place in Northumberland, England in the 1960s and 70s. My question is also ridiculously specific, and for that I apologize.

In 1963, one of the main characters, a wealthy, influential, and highly respected man, is accused by his maid of murdering his wife. The maid has some fairly damning evidence against him: a photograph she took which shows the accused burying a body in the manor garden. She's also able to describe the condition of the body to the police. The police, believing they have a solid, open-and-shut case, go to the manor to investigate and make the arrest...except they don't actually set one foot on the property. The accused, along with his equally influential and respected best friend, manage to so completely hamper the investigation that the police can't even access the manor grounds, much less dig in the garden. This continues for about a week, until the accused dies and the case is considered closed.

My question is: is there anything in 1960s British law, criminal or otherwise, that would have enabled them to keep the police at bay for so long? Possibly a loophole they could have exploited or rights they could have invoked? (These men were an engineer and a doctor respectively, but both were well educated and probably familiar with the law.) I've considered flat-out bribery, which they might have been desperate enough to resort to, but it's unlikely--the chief of police is so convinced of their guilt that, 10+ years later, he's still trying to implicate the best friend in the murder and is still upset that the accused man was never brought to trial. Bribing him most likely would have just backfired in their faces.

Any help anyone can provide would be useful; thank you!
Saiyaloid Raditz
  • kahteh

Clothing in a late-18th/early-19th-century mental asylum; insanity and discharge from the military

This may be a bit of a long shot (and it's for a really, really little detail), but I figured if anyone would know, it'd be you folks.

Location: Probably irrelevant, but I'll say either Western Europe or North America.

Time: Late 18th century to early 19th century (i.e. about 1775 - 1815)

Search Terms Used (q. 1): "18th century madhouse" (also "+ clothing"), 18th century mental asylum" (also "+ clothing"), and the same terms with "19th century" in place of "18th century". I also looked up the madhouse pictures from A Rake's Progress, but they were a bit earlier than what I'm looking for.

Anyway, here is my question: did inmates in late 18th/early 19th century mental asylums simply wear whatever they had been wearing when they were brought in, or was there some kind of 'uniform'? The character in question is currently wearing a military uniform (would he be allowed to wear this?): as my story stands, he's pretty much dragged straight into the asylum the moment he sets foot on home soil. Which leads to my next question...

Location and Time: As above.

Search Terms Used (q. 2): "insanity military discharge 18th century", and "19th century" in place of "18th". (I wasn't really sure how to even begin this search, and most of the results were unhelpful and/or concerning syphilis. Which my character is not suffering from. He is, however, definitely insane.)

Simply, would he be considered discharged from the army (either honourably or dishonourably) due to being committed to a mental asylum?

ETA: I have my second question answered, thanks to my Napoleonic history buff boyfriend. (Why did I not think of calling him in the first place?) So I just need info for question 1, I guess.

ETA#2: I think I'm probably sorted now folks. Thanks!

Missing Persons procedure in the UK

My character is about to go missing.

Another character works for the non-emergency police enquiry lines for a UK constabulary, present day. This is a job I used to hold myself so I am very familiar with pretty much all the little procedural details involved! However, I have forgotten one small detail which is crucial to an aspect of the plot.

How long does it take for the police to take action on a missing person, (ie to class the person offically as 'missing') - from the time of the disappearance being noted/reported? I'm aware that this varies with the age/situation of the person. I know that there are, more or less, guidelines for when the police say 'we'll treat it as a misper'. My 'misper' is a 'normal', psychologically, physically and financially secure adult who fits none of the police's listed 'risk factors' and is otherwise not really your typical candidate for disappearance. I am aware that in some cases, a perfectly safe adult might not be treated as a missing person until a few days have passed - after all if a person wishes to go away for a night or two out of contact of friends and family, s/he has every right to do so. Police resources are stretched and I'm fairly sure sometimes people are told to wait to see if s/he comes home at first. The missing person in my story will be eventually classed as such *only* because of the length of time s/he has been missing. But how long does that take?

Things googled and found:
I have googled 'missing persons' 'missing persons procedure', 'missing for five days', 'missing adult', and all sorts of other combinations within the UK advanced search. Though I can find plenty of information (for anyone who wants it, this is a very useful 133-page document) I have no actual timescales. The document linked only tell us about risk assessment, and procedure from the point that the police begin investigating. I am loath to call the National Missing Persons Helpline as they are a charity who don't want their time wasting. I don't want to call police non emergency enquiry lines, because I know what sort of response timewasters get! Also I think it looks extremely suss and personally if I got this call when working on the enquiry lines, I would at the very least report it as suspicious.

So. Any help would be very useful. Thank you again, wonderful community. :D

[EDIT] Thanks to my very useful three commenters, the answer more or less seems to be that the police consider 48 hours' disappearance sufficient waiting time. And I have learned my lesson: I will bother the police's PR department before coming and bothering you guys. THANK YOU!

Tiles in the London Tube

Location: London

Time: Present

What I am looking for is an impression and not so much a fact, and while I tried to google it, I didn't find what I was looking for.

My question:

What colour do the tiles in a tube station generally have, between the entry and the platform? I don't want to know what they look like in a particular station, just what colour someone would first think of who has used it for years. I would also like to know if the light affects the colour somehow.

Thanks in advance.
  • _lsl_

proper title for a male ballet dancer

Search terms used --

title for male ballerina 
premier dansuer

I've read numerous articles and replies, but am still shaky.

Right, onto the question.

In my novel, set in America anywhere from 1980's to now ish, doesn't matter, my MC is a ballet dancer, with one little quirk - he's male. He would be around a junior to a senior in HighSchool, and I have NO idea what to call him ballet-wise.

His talent is phenomenal, and he plans on applying to a top school for the performing arts/dance. 

I've basically figured out that he would be called a "danseur", but what about if he were in a program for a ballet? (Let us assume that he has one of the lead or secondary roles) What would they refer to him as? Primer danseur? A soloist? 

What would he tell his friends that he is, ex "I am a male ballet dancer/I am a danseur/I am a primer danseur"?

I know that ballerino is not the correct term, and would very much like to not have to resort to this as I KNOW it is not that accurate, and male ballet dancer is a little long. Personal experince would be helpful, and any general input. I'm trying to reach a general consensus on this. Thank you!

EDIT: I'm going to go with him saying "dancer" or "ballet dancer", and use that to spawn some jokes (thank you, _madisonne_  !) Most everyone in his school knows that he dances, and for use in programs I will use "soloist" and "principal dancer" for the different roles he gets. I am so grateful for the input and context, and will definitely use the resources mentioned for other dance definitions that were mentioned. Gracias!