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What percentage of murder investigations in England and Wales are solved by the police? This was one of many thought-provoking questions posed to pupils by acclaimed criminologist Professor David Wilson during his talk at Trent last week. For Year 10 pupils and the Year 11 and Sixth Form psychology students in attendance, the talk was a gripping introduction to the world of criminology and an exclusive opportunity to have their questions answered by a leading expert in the field.
David Wilson is best known for his work and research on British serial killers. After earning his PhD at the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, David worked as a prison governor at various institutions and at 29 years old, was appointed the youngest governing governor in England. During his career, David has met some of the most notorious serial killers from the past 30 years and advised several British police forces on high profile murder cases. He has also shared his knowledge in print, writing numerous academic reviews and 15 books, and through regular appearances on television and radio as both a presenter and commentator on the criminal justice system.
Pupils were riveted as David described his work with infamous criminals and discussed his research findings on the psychological profiles of murderers and serial killers. Now an advocate for prison and penal reform, David encouraged pupils to think beyond their preconceptions of serial killers and consider cultural belief systems that also have an impact on murder statistics, such as misogyny, homophobia and gerontophobia (prejudice towards women, gay people and the elderly respectively). David also explained that a disproportionate number of murder victims are from vulnerable groups and therefore one of the ways we can all help to prevent these crimes going forward is by working together to create a more inclusive and tolerant society with readily-available support for those most in need.
Year 13 student Robyn plans to study criminology at university upon leaving Trent and found David’s talk to be especially beneficial. “Professor Wilson was an extremely engaging speaker and his talk was full of interesting facts about criminology. Hearing his personal experiences has made me even more interested in the psychology behind crime.”
David’s visit to Trent was organised by our onsite careers team, as part of a diverse guest speaker programme that runs throughout the school year. The programme aims to educate and inspire pupils about future career possibilities. Speaker topics range from popular career aspirations – such as medicine, law and acting – to lesser-known but equally interesting job roles that pupils may not have even heard of before, let alone considered as a career option.