The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints
I hope there's room for me.

Welcome all - especially Mancunians.

Hello anybody lost in the blogosphere. Welcome to the ruminations of a politically left of centre, Man United supporting, blues loving, history-fixated, Catholic wanderer. Be warned, I am a bit of a curmudgeon.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Post-Levenson, News International learns nothing.

On Friday, 7th December, the Sun newspaper carried an article under the headline "Killer Psycho Holds Jail Priest Hostage" and goes on to relate that Kiaran Stapleton, who is serving a Life Sentence for the callous shooting to the death of Indian student Anuj Bidve in Salford, had "asked to speak to the Chaplain in confidence after secretly fashioning a weapon", apparently because of losing an appeal against his 30 year tariff.
The story goes on to claim "...once they were alone he pulled [the weapon] on the terrified priest. The brute's unsuspecting victim frantically hit a panic button to alert guards".
The problem with this story is that, from the headline onwards, it is untrue - Kiaran Stapleton didn't ask to see the Chaplain to speak in confidence (that wouldn't have been allowed anyway), he hadn't manufactured a weapon, the priest wasn't terrified and he didn't hit a panic button, be it frantically or otherwise. Oh, and he wasn't taken hostage.
The truth is more mundane, less dramatic and the prison officers are too professional and quick off the mark to allow something like this to happen. The Prison Service statement, ignored by the reporter, was much more accurate: "A prisoner attempted to assault a member of the chaplaincy team during worship" - it was all over in seconds.
What disturbs me about the account in The Sun is that it was what the prisoner will have wanted to make himself more notorious and the journalist, a Richard Moriarty who seems to specialise in this sort of story, has added to the notoriety that the prisoner craves, fed by an untrue account from those close to Mr Stapleton.
The story was quickly picked up around the world and the inaccurate account was reported before the true story could get out.
This caused further hurt to the family of Mr Bidve and to the family of the Chaplain in question who were utterly convinced he had been brutally assaulted and, not able to contact him due to the weather damaging the 'phone line, were left in a state of panic and worry.
After the Levenson Inquiry Report, one would have hoped that The Sun would have learnt to be more concerned with accuracy - the sad thing is, the Chaplain has been left more upset about the article than about the event it purports to recount.
I believe less and less what I read, or listen to, in many of the media outlets - I suppose Mr Moriarty is looking forward to writing a book that will join the rest of the Manchester gang dross that fills the bookshelves of WHSmith.

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