Officer who helped jail Sunderland rapists speaks about her drive to help victims in wake of CSI documentary

Northumbria Police Sergeant Cassie Hyland was followed by the documentary crew as she investigated a Sunderland rape inquiry.
Northumbria Police Sergeant Cassie Hyland was followed by the documentary crew as she investigated a Sunderland rape inquiry.

A police officer who featured in a television documentary which followed a complex rape inquiry in Sunderland has spoken of the tough tasks she and her colleagues face as part of the job.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Cassie Hyland featured in last night's instalment of the new BBC Two documentary ‘Forensics: The Real CSI’.

Related: Sunderland rape probe to feature in television documentary on police CSI team

She and her fellow officers were followed as they worked alongside their forensic officer colleagues to investigate the rape of a vulnerable woman in a flat in Roker Avenue last May.

The programme followed the complicated inquiry as scientists used their skills to analyse DNA profiles to establish evidence they had carried out the attack.

Saheed Rasoolli, 30, and Araz Abdulla, 23, were found guilty of rape following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Read more: Roker Avenue rape: Sunderland police chief thanks ‘angry and upset’ residents for help as attackers are caged for 22 years

The programme also followed another team of Sunderland officers as they investigated an aggravated burglary in the city in March 2018.

The evidence gathered by the forensic officers and detectives led to the jailing of Lee Dunn, then 40, of Alnwick Road, for 10 years.

Read more: 'Scarred for life' - man and his dog stabbed and beaten in 'horrifying' attack at Sunderland home

Sgt Hyand has worked many interesting and disturbing cases in her career but nothing has stopped her drive to continue to help people.

One of the most notable cases was when two teenagers kidnapped a toddler from a Primark store in Newcastle in April 2016.

Officers worked quickly and managed to track down the offenders and the toddler safe and well within one hour and 45 minutes.

Sgt Hyland said: “I remember every detail of that case, from the moment we got the call to the moment the sentence was read out in court.

"Definitely one of the most challenging but rewarding cases I’ve worked on.”

Sgt Hyland, who has been in the force for almost nine years, has worked across Northumbria in a variety of roles and teams including CID, Response and Neighbourhood Policing Team where she joined in September 2018.

She now polices North Shields in Northern Area Command.

Sgt Hyland said: “When I first joined Northumbria I started in Northern Area Command so to be back there is amazing.

"Going back with developed skills and experience is great and to see the positive changes in the communities I love is fantastic.

"You get the best of both worlds in my patch, rural and urban, you get to help so many different types of people and to me that’s what this job is all about for me - helping people.”

Cassie didn’t always want to be a police officer, she said: “I first wanted to be a teacher, and I worked in a secondary school for 18 months.

"I volunteered as a Special Constable in my spare time and fell in love with the work and realised that this is what I needed to do with my life.

“Helping people and working with the public is a huge part of what gets me up every day.

"That and the unexpected - I never know what I’m walking into each day - I love that. No day is the same and it always keeps you on your toes.

“Don’t get me wrong the job isn’t all good.

"You have hard days, for me I struggle with the sudden deaths; my mind goes straight to my own family.

"They’re tough but it’s part of the job and helping others get closure one way or another really helps.”

The final show in the three-part series will be screened this coming Wednesday at 9pm as it continues to look at how officers and crime scene investigators tackle real-life crime scenes and investigations.

The programmes can be viewed via the iPlayer.