Imagine you are wanting to break into an acting career and you see a job listing for a crime reconstruction TV show. You go to the audition and learn that you will be playing the part of a murderer in an open investigation. When the episode airs -- even though your face wasn't meant to be shown on screen -- you start getting called 'murderer' in public. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, but you move on.
Now imagine that the same episode re-airs 21 years later and, suddenly, people are convinced that you committed the crime. Your name is turned over to the police, and you have to submit to their investigation of you as a murder suspect.
This is exactly what happened to Steve Watson, a man who portrayed the killer of Julie Pacey on BBC's Crimewatch in 1994.
Watson reportedly bears a striking resemblance to the suspect sketch in Julie Pacey's murder -- so much so that two people contacted police to turn him in as the murderer. Watson lived only 15 miles away from the murder scene at the time. Of the filming, Watson said:
You weren't supposed to see my face but it was on screen for about two seconds. I had people ringing me up asking me 'what have you done?' People stopped me in the street saying 'you're that murderer', or 'you're the one that got that poor girl'.
He has been visited in his home by police officers, and they have collected DNA samples to match against the evidence from the scene; this evidence has recently been reopened, as advancing technology has allowed investigators to test previously unsuitable samples. Four weeks on, and he still hasn't been arrested or cleared of the crime.
Detective Inspector Helen Evans of the Lincolnshire Police said:
The name of the gentleman who it later turned out was an actor in the reconstruction was passed to us and was information that, of course, we had to investigate for obvious reasons. He explained he had been involved in the original filming and we discussed the purposes of our visit with him and that we hoped he understood why we are duty-bound to follow up the information that had come in.
Was he chosen for the role because he looked so much like the suspected murderer? Did he actually kill Julie Pacey and want to stay close to the investigation? What are the odds?!