The Scottish Sun wanted answers when a little girl was found dead on the Isle of Bute. “What happened to Alesha MacPhail, when did she go missing on the Isle of Bute and where was her body found? The six-year-old girl vanished while staying with her dad and grandparents - and was found dead three hours later”.
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Then came the worse news. “The death was initially being treated as unexplained but late on the night of July 3 police confirmed they had launched a murder investigation … Police confirmed the youngster’s body was discovered in woodland on the site of the abandoned Kyles of Bute Hydropathic Hotel by a member of the public … The hotel was demolished in the 1970s and is only around a 20 minute walk from where she vanished”.
Who would give the answer? We were not long in finding out: pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins instinctively knew Who Done It. “For an island with close to zero crime, there has been a recent disturbing trend on the Isle of Bute, Scotland” she told solemnly, linking the killing to the recent arrival of 19 refugee families from Syria.
So Ferret Scotland decided to fact check Hatey Katie, noting “The tweet was later deleted and replaced by a link to a story about the girl’s death, then a screenshot of an article about Syrian refugees settling in Bute ‘tweeted without comment’”. Nudge nudge, wink wink, a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bigot.
But it was her original Tweet, juxtaposing news of the little girl’s death with an article on sex crimes, that was the main focus of that fact check. As they told, “She highlighted a portion of the first article, which read ‘However, sexual crimes, including rape and attempted rape, are up 29 per cent on last year’s figures, while sexual assaults have jumped up 45 per cent.’” But there was a problem here.
“The statistics in the article actually refer to Argyll and Bute, which covers a larger area than just the Isle of Bute. The Argyll and Bute council area’s latest comparable estimated population is 87,130. The most recent population estimate for the Isle of Bute is 6,129, which is just over seven per cent of the council area”. What a surprise.
Ferret Scotland concluded, after analysing recent data, that “There is also no evidence of a trend of increasing sexual crime … Argyll and Bute’s rate of sexual crime remains lower than the Scottish average”. Worse, “The statistics in the article Hopkins shared are for 2014-15 to 2015-16, and the Syrian refugee settlement programme only began in December, three months before the end of this period”.
So Ferret Scotland gave Ms Hopkins an FFS, which equates roughly to a Politifact Pants On Fire. And what is worse, after it was revealed that the suspected killer was known to the girl’s family, she just blithely Tweeted “These murders are typically carried out by a family member/ known contact. The Fear is not knowing the predators face”.
Smearing 19 refugee families and just walking away? Being Katie Hopkins means never having to say you’re sorry. Even if it does make you seriously skint.