Thursday, 6 January 2011

Jo Yeates' Murder: When "Gay"'s As Good As Guilty

The new year started on a real low with the press lynching of Chris Jefferies - questioned by police over the murder of his neighbour, Joanna Yeates, and released without charge.
The tabloids all dutifully joined in the attack - drawing much criticism for so flagrantly flouting contempt of court laws.
For The Sun that he was seen by some as a "creepy oddball" was all they needed - and like many papers this was confirmed by rumours that "the blue-rinse, long-haired bachelor" was gay.
An unnamed student of the former teacher was quoted; "He was very flamboyant. We were convinced he was gay."
Any evidence?
"He loved old English poetry. The way he talked, the way he walked and the way he acted - it was all very strange."
A neighbour added; "He was unusual in that his hair was all over the place. He was very posh, a solitary figure and very cultured. I wouldn't use the word popular to describe him."
And further; "Family friends of only child Jefferies last night described him as "effeminate" as a youngster."
The Daily Mail ran a shameful front-page story;
'We thought 'nutty professor' was gay, say ex-pupils, as police get 12 more hours to quiz him over Joanna murder'
This is followed by a bizarre cluster of three bulletpoints;

• Police given extra 12 hours to quiz Jefferies over killing
• Forensic teams continue search at block of flats
• They assumed the English teacher was gay

Case closed?!
Arguably the most tenuous and surreal was a story in The Daily Mirror;
Joanna Yeates Murder Investigation: Chris Jefferies' 'favourite' poem was about killing wife
"A former student of bailed murder suspect Christopher ­Jefferies yesterday told how the retired English teacher’s favourite poem tells the story of a man who was hanged for cutting his wife’s throat.
"The ex-pupil said: “He was obsessed by Oscar Wilde. His favourite poem by Wilde was the Ballad of Reading Gaol."
Well done to Daily Mail columnist Craig Brown who wrote later in praise of eccentricity, and slammed "The ghastly parade of nudge-nudges against Mr Christopher Jefferies..."
Today The Daily Mail reports without a hint of regret or irony that; Landlord arrested over Joanna Yeates murder 'may sue police for wrongful arrest'
Will Mr Jefferies also sue some of our great British newspapers?

1 comment:

  1. Roy Greenslade on the media's "rush to judgment" and how they treat the contempt law with contempt...