Washington Young Writers Collective

A Murder Mystery

As part of Bright Lights: Youth Arts Festival 2023, Washington Young Writers Collective created a murder mystery evidence board.

Join Beth Valente – Private Eye – as she investigates the mysterious death of a student at a prestigious university. Was it an accidental or was it murder? Her investigation leads her all the way the top and even back into her past.

A Murder Mystery was written jointly by the members of Washington Writers Collective – Lily (14), Molly (13), Robyn (11) and Helen (16) – and led by poet and writer Kym Deyn.

Creative You is supported by Sunderland City Council’s Washington Area Committee.

The project based from Arts Centre Washington and led by Sunderland Culture in partnership with Washington Mind.

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  • The Detective
    Monday 21st

    I was doing some investigating at the weekend and I think I might have found my sister! Her name is Beth (which fits) Valente (which doesn’t), but hey! She has a reason to change her name, right? And she’s a detective! Look at what I found on the website from old newspapers:

    “Beth Valente, our new city detective, has successfully solved her 5th case!”


    She’s so good!!

    “And yet again, Beth Valente has come to the rescue!”


    Could I ask her fans?

    “Beth Valente, private eye, has apprehended the mysterious criminal wandering our streets who was none other than…”


    ^^^ Look at that! She even has a website about her! That should give me some more family links.

    Tuesday 22nd

    Bad news: all the website says about Beth’s family is that her “family is unknown. Beth keeps a lot of things secret”


    Who is she??

    Come on Aelic Investigate!


    Friday 25th 

    Good news! I found her social media accounts. I should have looked at them way earlier. The bad news is that it says next to nothing about anything! I need to keep looking, maybe I’ll go scout round her house for a bit? I managed to find her address via an old land registry website.

    Look I was getting desperate I needed something!

    UPDATE: I made it to her house, result! Right now I’m sitting in my car outside. It’s not suspicious as she lives in the apartment block, her office is on the other side of town and I think she got in a little before I did. I don’t know what I’m looking for , though, or how i’m going to find ANY proof we’re related!

    Did she see me?

    Saturday 26th 

    As I’m writing this I realise how little I know about her. Let me make a list:

    Name: Beth “Valenete”

    There are very few photos! She could be 25 or 45

    Age: Unknown – even the media have no idea 

    Job: Detective

    Likes: her job, secrets, the satisfaction of solving a case

    Dislikes: presumably liars, as they make the case more difficult but then again they make the case more interesting, so maybe not?

    See!? All I know is five strong but small facts and two guesses and nothing else! I need some more information…

    Do I talk to her?


    My son, next time from a young age you have been a delay in my life, my constant light in the darkness, but there is one thing I haven’t told you. You say, before you were born your mother and I had a child. Her name was Beth, and I she grew she became more and more interested in investigation journalism do you remember her? You were very young when she left us but a habit freeze of hers was to carry around a notebook unpin wherever she went “It’s always good to be prepared!” She would say, and I guess she was right. When she didn’t come to us for the holidays like she’d promised. We started to get worried. This wasn’t like her. I remember you patiently waiting at the door for her to come back home, but you soon forgot out all about her and me and your mother never wanted to upset you. you were so happy and so like her that we didn’t want anything to come between us. When Beth left us we didn’t do a search. We presume she wanted to come back. You murder wait two months before giving in a morning. I, however, was not convinced. I still somehow believe that she was still alive, and in my free time I searched and searched for her, but to no avail. Now I am passing that duty onto you. Try your best to find your sister, Alec. I am sorry I’m pushing all of this upon you at such short notice, but I’m afraid I may not be around much longer and as your mother is no longer with us I told myself I would tell you before I died. Keep the faith, my lad

    With love,

    Your father

  • The Crime

    The Washington Mail

    Saturday, March 26, 2022

    Student Found Dead in Pub

    Devastating drug death

    by Roger Davies

    Yesterday evening at approximately 2am, the body of a university student was discovered at the brooks arms. The body had sustained no visible injuries but was unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene as of this paper’s publication, the victim has been identified as 19 year old Theodore “ Ted” Vincent, a student at the local university.

    The police stated that they are working closely with the coroner’s office and the university but are not treating the death as suspicious at this time.

    It is believed to be drug related.

    Faith in the police has been eroded in recent years after several previous feelings to reprimand a viable corpora for the death of a Lisa Connelly in 2016 and after their work has been constantly overshadowed by private detectives.

  • The Suspects
    Suspect 1

    Ms Hargrove was last known to be in a romantic relationship with the victim. Information provided by the suspects’ flatmate gave us insightful knowledge about the issue of mistrust exhibited in the relationship between her and the deceased Mr Ted Vicent. Additionally,  it was noted that during Mr Vincent’s final weeks MS Havgrove felt that his academic deadlines put a wedge on their relations. This Ms Havgrove said, left her to seek comfort and confidence in a “Platonic” childhood friend Mr Laurie Crawford.

    In the cumulative weeks of Ted Vincent’s life he grew in scepticism and paranoia of the increasing reliability of Miranda Hargrove on Mr Crawford. This information was extracted by a poem written by Ted Vincent – one of many documenting his seminal beliefs about the dawning separation of him and Ms Hargrove. This information concludes two ideologies about the death of Ted Vincent. One somewhat possibly, one rather probably.

    1.  That he sunk under the pressures of deadlines and examinations leading to his own hamartia. Did he descend into madness? Was he sceptical of his girlfriend’s loyalty? And did he then ingest the drugs at his own hand leading him to a fatal overdose?
    2. Or was it that Ms Hargrove was having an affair with Mr Crawford? Did she eventually crumble under Mr Vincent’s accusations? Were Ted Vincent’s scepticisms correct? And did she herself spike Mr Vincent’s drink and purposefully induce an overdose? Afterall, It was her fingerprints found on the rim of the flash held in police custody.
    3. Most suspiciously though, is the undiscovered letter written by Mr Vincent to Ms Hargrove explaining that he wanted to talk. This evidence has been withheld by the suspect and is believed to expose critical information about the withering relationship between her and Ted Vincent. Presently, the suspect’s alibi s that she was out of town with MR Crawford on the night of the fatality. She claims that she was oblivious to the whereabouts of Mr Vincent’s friend Tom Walkers or Aelic Richards.

    PI B.Valente

    Suspect 2

    Mr Laurie Crawford is under close investigation due to the questions around the trie relationship he displays with Miranda Jane Havgrove whilst she was in a romantic connection with Ted Vincent. However it is proven that Me Crawford had somewhat increasingly complex encounters with the victim. Records show that Laurie Crawford was close with Miranda Hargrove grom and early age: they went to school together, their parents are well acquainted and now are at uni together. They have certainly been thrown together a lot in their lives and rising questions about these companions are justified. Whether or not these two are romantically entwined is not necessarily the point. It is however that they confided in each other for advice and were both privy to each other’s secrets.

    In the beginning, the victim’s friendship with Mr Crawford was a contended one and Ms Hargrove was Keane for them to become close friends. As the bonds strengthened, there was even discussion a year ago about the victim and him going into a kind of business together as partners. We do not know what this business concerned, but during the recent summer we know that Mr Vincent did not want to commit to it and didn’t employ the funds. Critically, perhaps the money on Mr Crawford’s part was not honest but was laundered from elsewhere. Did MR Vincent back out on account of guilty conscience? Or was Mr Vincent simply unreliable? Either way this will have put Mr Crawford in a state of dubiety. Scepticism only leads to a mistrust and of vigilance. Possibly, he grew to despise the victim of this and the way he treated his oldest companion. Willing to release Miranda Hargroves from the increasingly possessive arms of Mr Vincent; would he seek to harm him? What is untold is that away from him but did the victim ever confront Laurie Crawford? Was he ever to blame? Did this friendly narrative turn toxic, jealous and even murderous? Ms Hargroves alibi stands as Mr Crawford is attesting to be out of town with her.

    PI B.Valente


    Suspect 3 

    Tom Walters is also under speculation for the overdose of Mr Ted Vincent. From former flat mates, we can deduce that his character is that of a typical “party goer,” and “drug addict” having been arrested on three separate accounts. He was not one for paying bills on a regular basis. Many neighbours had made several complaints to the police forces due to noise and drugs related crimes. These former flatmates have sought to find new accommodation due to his lifestyle. Currently, the landlord is on his case for these disruptions and has made it clear that he has few chances left.

    In relation to the victim, he was a symbiotic flatmate and they became codependent. Ted Vincent arranged this apartment building for economic benefits as he and Mr Walters were not that close at first. During the stress-filled final months of Ted Vincent’s life, it is thought that Tom Walters himself has said that, “he had angry outburst at the end,” although he dismisses any accusation about owning any illegal substance. In fairness, these could be down to school pressures but it is patently apparent that it can not be all down to this. Even with such a committed student it would seem extreme.

    At this point in time it is clear that Vincent was hooked on these illegal substances, stressed and in no healthy state of mind. Declining mental health and increasing substance intake had affected his well being and judgement. During an autopsy we can provide evidence of multiple types of drugs in the victim’s bloodstream. So much that it is undetectable which has caused fatality. So was it manslaughter or murder?

    Did the substances given by Mr Wilkins cause accidental death or with intent to kill? There is surely a motive: Ted Vincent has been on many occasions demanding payment for rent from Mr Wilkins for months. Conceivably, Tom Walters may have relied on Ted Vincent for a roof over his head and Mr Vincent in need of Tom Walters for his newly grappling drug addiction. However, beginning under the impression that the class A drugs weren’t payment enough, contrast conflict over money may have gotten tiring and even morbid.


    Suspect 4

    Aelic Richards is under close speculation for his whereabouts on the night of Ted Vincent’s suspected overdose. He has no alibi but has a history of academic competition with the victim. So we ask ourselves whether this competition was healthy or detrimental to the mental health of both students. Were they both fighting over top grades or had he discovered something to leverage the victim with?

    Was this money laundering scheme with Mr Laurie Crawford discovered by Mr Richards and used as a source of blackmail? This absence of alibi is certainly a source of investigation.

    PI B.Valente


  • The Clues


    I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think we should take a break from each other. I’m really sorry for everything.



    What was Aelic doing that night and why won’t he talk about it?


    Barmaid at Brook’s Arms: I saw two students come in about 1AM, one was supporting the other one’s weight over his shoulder. When I looked again, the student was alone and slumped over on the table. I thought he was drunk-but when he remained unresponsive, I called an ambulance.


    Light spotted in Prof.Keane’s office  –  12AM – When asked about it maintained it just had been left on by accident. He had a meeting with victim at 8:00PM


    Witnesses describe Laurie as “Furious” with Ted over his treatment of Miranda.


    Miranda, Laurie and Tom all deny both seeing Aelic and Ted that night.


    When I searched the rubbish outside the journalist department I found some industrial strength cleaning products. Is someone covering something up?

    Suspect  Means Motive Opportunity
    Aelic R Student Could get access to drugs. Argued w/ victim. Competitive Has no alibi for night of murder.
    Miranda H Ex girlfriend



    Debatable – out. Pub where body was found with Laurie C
    Laurie C Overheard saying He’s “make Ted pay”childhood friend of Miranda. Jealous? With Miranda. In on it with together?
    Tom w. None – Known user “Stoner” on campus – perhaps facilitate accident? Cannot account for whereabout between 12:30 – 1:00 – partying in town. ( No witness has little memory of the evening)
  • The Twist

    I had to tell Beth who I am. I gave here the letter Dad sent and she just stared. “I knew the second the pd pointed you out” Beth did not smile ever but the corner of her mouth twitched upwards. “It won’t stop me if you’re guilty, Aelic.” 

    “I was looking for you the night Ted was killed” I said. “I think you saw me.” I don’t know if she was relieved but something in her shoulders relaxed. “ I just want to help. Please” THEN BETH LET ME HELP !!! Well, she said “alright, don’t get in my way.” But that’s basically the same thing, right??

    I wanted to talk to Tom again. I knew he was hiding something. He could be a bit wild but surely he’d have called for help if a friend overdosed? I corned him and he admitted to taking drugs that night but said he couldn’t have been responsible for Ted, his dealer bought enough for himself. “Who’s your dealer?” I asked 

    Really didn’t want to know. 

    “The professor.” He said “Professor Keane”

    Keane has access to the drugs that killed Ted??!

  • The Solution

    Washington Young Writers Weekly

    Wednesday, February 31st 2023


    A Scandal in Academia

    By Lily Christine Tiplady

    The Tragic murder of student Ted Vincent has prompted calls for the detective to set up a separate agency. Private investigator Beth Valente has done just that!

    PI Valente has gone into business with her half-brother Aelic Richards – a detective journalist. This is a joint venture is named Valente & Bro which is located on Biddick Ln, Washington NE38 8AB. Devoted to keeping the Northeast safe where those culpable are brought to justice.

    Ted Vincent was a victim of those in power having too much authority, free will and using, free will and using their status for legal purposes. This type of hierarchy in universities and in the community has led H.O.D professor, Conor Keane, to fraud bursary money from the university for drug dealing and personal gain. This type of access ability must be prevented and this agency is prepared to stop this in the future. We can assure you that this man is behind bars and shall remain this way. They hope to do Ted Vincent justice by not allowing anyone else to suffer fatalities due to blackmail.

    as a detective agency Valente and Richard strife as social justice and the truth. These pairs are a match made by Sir Conan Doyle himself as they are both excellent detectives. A perfect “Sherlock ” and “Watson”. We urge you to call in if you ever see anything like that could be construed as demanding investigation. No case is impossible.

    The Washington Mail

    Wednesday, March 30th, 2022


    Killer university professor confesses

    university professor murdered on student

    By Roger Davies

    Earlier today professor Konnor Keane was taken in by police on suspicion of murder ring local university student Theodore Vincent. The student in question had been found dead Friday night.

    Later on in the article we see different people’s responses to the crime and how this made them feel.

    Our town detective best Valente was the one who brought him to justice, along with her faithful companion, Aelic Richards. Both were available for comment and the detective said “it was just a job well done” and Aelic Richards commented “I am so proud to have brought this murderer to justice alongside my friend Beth! I hope this at least will give me an A in my journalism class!”

    When committing Aelic was exuberant and very pleased with himself.

    At the time when the accused was brought in he solemnly denied all knowledge of the case except that the victim had been in his class and nothing else. When professor Keane eventually confessed and agreed to plead guilty he admitted to “killing the student and dumping him at the pub”. The detectives had mixed responses, Aelic Richards was jumping up and down with Glee and Beth Valente remained deadpan.

    Eventually she shoved Aelic to calm him down but she could not stop his excited puppy eyes.

    The bartender has apologized for mistaking that the victim was Alice and for not noticing the other “student” was an A student after all but a university professor. And the case was closed.

    Catching the Killer

    Do not miss out our exclusive analysts of how best solve this case in the next Monday’s edition

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