Magazine article The Spectator

Criminal Stupidity

Magazine article The Spectator

Criminal Stupidity

Article excerpt

If you think Bond villains' ideas are implausibly silly, you should meet some more real-life criminals

We all love to mock Bond villains for their hilarious ineptitude at killing the hero. The 'genius' Dr No has a tarantula placed in Bond's bed -- though as it happens, tarantula bites do not kill humans except via anaphylaxis; he tries to have Bond run off the road, irradiated, and boiled alive in a nuclear cooling tank. Time and again, Bond is in the clutches of Smersh or Spectre or that chap with three nipples, and time and again they pass up the obvious bullet to the head in favour of crowd-pleasing stunts involving sharks, poison-tipped shoes, alligators, and men with giant metal teeth.

Such things would never happen in the real world, we think. Even a halfwit criminal would know to crush a cunning adversary like Bond in the simplest, quickest way possible.

Or would they?

One client of mine, whom I shall call Blofeld, decided to murder his wife.

I do not wish to advise readers as to the best methods for such a crime, but they tend to the prosaic: poison, strangulation, bludgeoning, etc.

Blofeld decided to finish off his missus by firing a homemade, 4ft-long rocket into her car as she drove through a wooded copse on her way home from work.

After painstakingly building his weapon in the shed, he placed it on a custom-built launch frame and angled it towards the road. To ensure it was fired at precisely the correct moment, he positioned himself on the other side of the road, facing the rocket, with a remote control gizmo in hand. Then he lay in wait.

A few minutes later, his wife's car drew into sight. The moment it was level with Blofeld he pushed the button. Instantly, there was a flash and a roar as the rocket flew towards its target.

It would have been the perfect murder, too, had it not been for one key flaw: his wife's car was 50 yards up the road by the time the rocket reached the desired point. …

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