After socialite and so-called “It Girl” Tara Palmer Tomkinson was found dead in her London flat recently, the tabloid press was first in shock, then in desperation: Ms Palmer Tomkinson had been an endless source of cheap Sleb copy, and now there would be no more. So they had to scrabble to score as many column inches as possible out of her death - which inevitably meant some highly creative journalism.
And there was no more creative account of the socialite’s last days than that in the Murdoch Sun, claiming “TARA Palmer-Tomkinson broke down in tears weeks before her death, telling a close pal: ‘Every day I want drugs’ … Pals privately feared she had relapsed and slipped into a ‘very dark place’ … Tara’s close friend said: ‘It was a very emotional conversation and would end up being the last time we spoke … Tara was crying when we first started talking and I asked what was wrong. She said that she felt down and lonely”. This was, let us not drive it around the houses for too long, total bullshit.
The Mirror was not much better informed, telling readers “Tara Palmer-Tomkinson in 'grips of cocaine addiction' just months before she died … A driver heard the tragic It girl ordering cocaine for her and a friend as she returned from an late-night event last year … A source told the Mirror: ‘She was on the phone to her dealer and arranged for him to meet at the home of her friend. She seemed familiar with her dealer’”. Yeah, right.
Meanwhile, the Mail, knowing that The Dead Don’t Sue, decided to invent a debt containing Big Scary And Suspiciously Round Numbers. “Tara Palmer-Tomkinson predicted her own death and was juggling a £200,000 debt in the days before she passed away, it has been revealed … Huge overheads had seemingly built up at her women's fashion line Desiderata”. That’s a seemingly monstrous pile of bullpucky.
The Mail was still at it yesterday, claiming “Tragic Tara Palmer-Tomkinson joked she would 'suddenly go' just weeks before her death at 45”. What did she actually say? “If I do suddenly go”. And she also said “I have a long life and I fully believe it”. So more crap.
Just how much crap that all was has been confirmed today. Sky News has told “Tara Palmer-Tomkinson died of ‘natural causes - a perforated ulcer’, her sister has said … [her sister confirmed] ‘Today the Coroner's report states that Tara died of natural causes - a perforated ulcer. She did not have a brain tumour’”. And there was more.
The Palmer Tomkinson family have released a statement stating “Those that knew and were close to Tara knew that there was no retreat to a 'dark place' as some have disappointingly sought to suggest … In the last few weeks Tara was happy, positive and making plans for when she recovered her health”. So little chance of drug relapses.
Ms Palmer Tomkinson’s sister also confirmed “She did not have a brain tumour”. Oh, and just to put the lid on the press’ avalanche of misinformation, “contrary to some reports, Tara was not the goddaughter of HRH the Prince of Wales”. Once again, one has to wonder if anything put out by the tabloids can be taken on trust. Or maybe not.
The death of Tara Palmer Tomkinson showed the tabloid press at its worst: leering, voyeuristic, unfeeling, dishonest, and totally without principle. So no change there, then.