No chance of the Sun not behaving badly
Something else links those murders, and those sentences: the routinely bad behaviour and lamentable journalistic standards of our free and fearless press. In the case of Thomas Mair, it was the denial of far-right terrorism, the constant assertion that Mair may be unfit to plead, that he had mental health issues, and above all that he was some kind of “lone wolf”. He wasn’t. With Couzens, the denial is different. But it is still denial.
Couzens was arrested last March; Ms Everard’s remains were found soon afterwards. She had been abducted - kidnapped - while walking home. By a then Police Officer who was at the time off duty, but used his status to kidnap her. The press lost no time in pushing the suggestion that he couldn’t possibly have done it. The Mail was in the vanguard.
There's been no trust in the Tel for years
Their headline - “'He couldn't do anything like this': Mother-in-law of Met officer, 48, arrested on suspicion of murdering Sarah Everard insists he' is a wonderful father' and has spent years learning Ukrainian after meeting her daughter, 39, online in 2006” is still live, as is the detail “A woman, 39, was arrested at the same address in Kent [as Couzens] on suspicion of assisting an offender”. But the emphasis is on denial.
Such as putting comments from Couzens’ mother-in-law nearer the top of the article: “He could not do anything like this. He is a wonderful family man, a wonderful man. This just sounds crazy to me … He is a wonderful father. He came to visit with the children and we all walked to the river and he helped me at home and in the garden”.
Unlike the lack of shame from Mail hacks
As for the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, only two days ago, after telling readers “The 48-year-old will face a two-day sentencing at the Old Bailey commencing today”, included comments from a former receptionist at the garage where Couzens had worked, such as “Wayne was lovely to work with. He was a really nice chap. He was thoughtful and friendly and got on with his work”. There was more.
“The Wayne I remember was kind and thoughtful, so when he was arrested I was absolutely stunned. Something must have happened to him after he joined the police”. And they spoke to his brother-in-law: “This is all so shocking. He is an extremely warm person, very polite and calm”. Maybe he bought his mother flowers an’ that.
This headline is rather more to the point
After Couzens admitted murdering Ms Everard, the Murdoch Sun quoted an alleged pal of his wife: “She kept saying she wished she knew why Wayne did it. She said she was shocked … She wanted to stay strong for her children. She was stressed. I know where she comes from in the Ukraine women are very strong”. Meaning what, exactly?
Small wonder the press is making sure they all pile in on the Met this morning. And yes, the Met needs shaking down way beyond the abilities of Cressida Dick; that should not be forgotten. Meanwhile, that full life sentence shows that Wayne Couzens was not a “nice chap”. He was not a “wonderful family man”. He was a brutal killer. That is all.
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