Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Extract from my latest thriller

Bookmark and Share
Friday, 5 June 2009 – 7.30
Bethel was nineteen – too young to remember the Sixties and too bored to care about her grandparents’ reminiscences – like how her mother was conceived at the Woodstock festival.
       But the sound of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” was ringing through her head, via the earphones of her iPod, as she stood by the roadside, waiting for help. She knew little of the context of the song and nothing about the closing of the Pandora’s Box nightclub or the Sunset Strip Curfew Riots. But the voice of Neil Young was haunting. It was easy to sleep through high school civics classes – even to sleepwalk through the assignments and exams.  She knew a bit about the Vietnam wat and the civil rights struggles of the Sixties.  But it was all superficial academic knowledge, of the kind she picked up almost by default while daydreaming about the football team quarterback.
       It stayed in her mind not as a coherent picture, but as a collection of sound bites: “We shall overcome,” “I have a dream,” “Power to the people,” “Burn, baby, burn!” The voice of anger still echoed across the decades. But it echoed faintly. A time gulf separated Bethel from the turbulence that had almost ripped her country apart. And the time gulf was ever widening, so all that was left of the ringing timbre of history’s voices were the fading reverberations of barely remembered heroes: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the Chicago Eight. Names and slogans to Bethel, but no substance.
       But she liked the song. It had a pleasant hook that made it stick in her mind. What really sent shivers up her spine was that haunting phrase at the end of chorus, urging the young listeners to pause and assess the situation. She had no more than the merest inkling of what it meant. Whatever it was had gone down already. It doesn’t really matter, she told herself. It belonged to her grandparents’ generation anyway. She belonged to another generation, the one that was more concerned with finding a job than changing the world         
       Her full name was Bethel Georgia Newton and she was a mixed bag of human elements. In the looks department she was all bleached blonde and classic cheerleader figure, a carefully cultivated complexion and polished-tooth smile. Neither svelte nor buxom, a kind of perfect “in-between” for her height of five foot six; athletic, but in that soft, not overdone sort of way, with well-toned leg muscles, but not rippling ones. She was middle class and far removed from the culture of the street, yet when it came to experience of life she wasn’t entirely naïve. She might not exactly have been streetwise, but she had tasted the bitter side of life.
       She stood by the roadside in her tight-fitting white t-shirt and denim shorts that showed every curve of her firm body, holding out her thumb every time a car went by. She thought it would be easy hitching a ride, with her breasts thrusting out in front, straining against her t-shirt, and the perfect ripe complexion of her thighs showing like white silk in the California sunshine. But people were paranoid about helping strangers by the roadside, she realized now.
       A few yards away, her car had broken down and she couldn’t even call for help because the battery of her cell phone was flat. She had made a half-hearted effort to fix the car herself, but she didn’t really have a clue when it came to car engines. So all she could do was flag down a Good Samaritan and ask them to take her to a garage where she could get proper help.
       Secretly she was hoping that some good-looking man with technical skills and a cool family fortune would stop and rescue her, not just from the roadside but from the aimless drifting boredom that seemed to have engulfed her life lately. But she would settle for an elderly couple taking her down the road to a pay phone if necessary. Only she wasn’t even getting that. Life was unfair.
       But then her luck changed.
       An aquamarine Mercedes slowed down as it approached her. A recent model and from the up-market end of the European car industry, the owner was clearly affluent and probably young. By the time it had pulled over by the roadside she could see that the driver, in his late twenties, was a black man.
       What would my parents think? she wondered with a smile at the fleeting fantasy of turning up on her liberal parents’ doorstep with this young man in tow.
       Think rather than say. She knew that they’d be warm and welcoming. But she wondered if they were capable of walking the walk as well as they could talk the talk. It occurred to her that she didn’t really know her parents. And yet here she was away from home, trying to find herself.
       As the young man leaned out, smiling, and asked if she needed help, she could tell from his confident voice that this someone who was going places. She was drawn to his youthful good looks and quiet, cool self-confidence and she warmed to him instantly, even if his diction betrayed the lingering traces of a background that she half suspected he was trying to conceal – or maybe just forget.
       He took a look under the hood and after about a minute shook his head and said, “I’m not really all that good with engines. I’m better with people.” He won her over with that line and a disarming smile. Two minutes later she was in the Mercedes and they were rolling along down the road, getting to know each other better. Then, somewhere along the line, she noticed that he had turned off the main road.
       She was about to ask where they were going when she caught a glimpse of his profile and saw his lips twist upwards into a smile. But she couldn’t tell if the smile was friendly. And as the first traces of apprehension formed into a knot in the pit of her stomach, she realized that she was too afraid to inquire further.

Click here to read the rest of  No Way Out - this exciting thriller...

Bookmark and Share

Monday, 26 July 2010

Bulger killer gets off lightly

Bookmark and Share

John Venables, one of the two murderers of two year-old James Bulger got off lightly with only a two year sentence for serious child pornography offenses.  This is despite the fact that he was already out on life license ("parole" to Americans) for the Bulger murder in 1993.

The amazing thing is that he seems to assume that he will be released on completion of his sentence - or even before that.  In fact, because he committed a crime while on license, he breached the terms of said license and consequently his license was revoked.  That means that he can only be released if a new license is issued.

Whether that will actually happen depends on the courage of the Home Secretary.  I suspect that somewhere along the line, we will be told that under a judicial interpretation of the European Convention of Human Rights, the mere act of putting him on a life license (for the murder of James Bulger) instead of a short finite sentence, was itself a "violation" of his "human rights."  While such a ruling would obviously be a misinterpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, it is the kind of interpretation that I can see our criminal-friendly judiciary handing down before they retreat behind gated communities with their police bodyguard.

It is also the kind of argument that I can also see rolling off the tongue of some highly-paid, smooth-talking shyster - highly paid by the taxpayer that is.  But if it does happen, then it is only a matter of time before he re-offends.

On the hand, Robert Thompson (the other murderer of James Bulger)  is entirely different.  Although he received pretty soft treatment at the de facto boarding school to which the authorities sent him, he seems to have gone straight.  He is living with his girlfriend and baby and a close female blood-relative.  He is quite polite - on one occasion even letting me get on the bus ahead of him despite the fact that he was already at the bus stop when I arrived there.

He doesn't know that I am onto him - although I think he suspects.  But I have mixed feelings when I see him.  On the one hand I believe that he is a genuinely reformed and rehabilitated character.  But on the other hand none of this vitiates the fact that he has the blood of an innocent child on his hands.  Moreover it was a long drawn-out vicious murder, not merely a spontaneous lashing out with fatal consequences.  He saw his two-year-old victim suffering and heard him crying and pleading with him to stop: yet he carried on.  His rehabilitation does nothing to ease the pain of his victim.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Rapist gets off lightly - AGAIN

Once again, Britain's criminal-friendly judges have let a rapist off lightly.  This time the rapist is an 18-year-old man who, when he was a 12-year-old boy raped a teacher.  She is still receiving therapy for the psychological trauma that the dirty little scumbag inflicted on her.

The original trial judge correctly stated that the rapist posed a "grave danger."  This might be because in addition to being a rapist he was also a drug junkie, a solvent addict, a pyromaniac and a violent young thug.  However Lord Justice Hughes, vice-president of the criminal court of appeal, decided that eight years with an extended licence period after release, was sufficient to protect the public from this death-deserving yob.  He was backed in this corrupt and depraved decision by Mr Justice Wyn Williams and Mr Justice King.

But what prompted this miscarriage of justice?  (And make no mistake, this reduction in the rapist's sentence IS a miscarriage of Justice.)  Well it is tempting to speculate that male judges have a "there but for the grace of God go I" attitude when it comes to rape.  But we must also acknowledge the significant contribution of the rapists lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, who used the best of his abilities to cause his rapist client to be unleashed on society as early as possible.  Fitzgerald told the Appeal Court that the original sentence should never have been passed.

Now we should remember that barristers operate according to the so-called "taxi rank" principle of accepting the first "fare" that comes along.  Personally I would call this the Red Light District streetwalker principle of going with the first punter that comes along.  But I can understand why members of that august profession prefer to compare themselves to skilled workers who have "done the knowledge" rather than members of the oldest profession whom they more closely resemble.

In any event, no one can deny that Fitzgerald did a good job in securing an earlier release for this rapist client.  Whilst it is quite likely that he was paid by the taxpayer (through the legal aid system) he was serving not the taxpayer, but his client.  And if that means that other women will be raped by his client in the future - something that is highly probable - that is not Mr Fitzgerald's problem.

And what of the victim?  Well it is all too easy to forget the victim in all of this.  Victims are not entitled to any representation in criminal proceedings.  Even victim impact statements are largely ignored by the judges and any change in this policy has been opposed by those who support the criminals.  The only "redress" that the law purports to allow the victim is the right to bring a civil lawsuit for financial compensation.  But no matter how much money is awarded, if the rapist hasn't got the money (or is able to conceal it) he will not be obliged to pay it.  or if he pays it will be a couple of quid a week.  And then he can duck the debt by having himself declared bankrupt.

Is it surprising then that in another case going before the courts involves a 15-year-old girl (then 14) accused murdering a man she accused of raping her?  As a rape victim says to the man who raped her many years later in my latest thriller No Way Out You think the pain of your victims ebbs into oblivion just because you turned your life around. You think it’s that easy? Don’t you know that for the victims the pain never goes away!"

The answer is: it doesn't.  So may be it's time to inflict some pain on the rapists.  As a modest first step, if anyone knows the identity of the rapist in this case, would they please reveal it on a website hosted outside the United Kingdom.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Obama forces Union Carbide to pay proper compensation

In the face of allegations of double standards over the BP tragedy, US President Barak Obama has decided to use his executive powers to force Dow Chemical (owners of Union Carbide) to pay out a "massive but fair" settlement to the victims of the Bhopal disaster in India.

In 1984, a release of poison gas and chemicals from the Union Carbide works in India killed 15,000 Indians (dots, not feathers) and exposed a further 500,000 to toxic chemicals.  Union Carbide, and their parent company Dow Chemical, have consistently resisted efforts to bring a class action suit - with the connivance of the American courts as well as successive administrations.  They have also protected CEO Warren Anderson and other key Union Carbide officials from extradition for manslaughter, despite the fact that the US claims the right to extradite (and even kidnap) people who commit crimes against citizens of the United States.

However, in the face of criticism over double standards in relation to BP, US President Barak Obama has decided to use his executive powers to force Dow Chemical to make a huge payout - running into "many billions" - to the victims of the Bhopal disaster.  He has also issued an executive order for the extradition to Warren Anderson and eight other key Union Carbide officials to India to face charges of manslaughter.

President Obama's decision, which has not yet been officially announced, was revealed by Italian investigative journalist Satira Scrivnera, who obtained copies of the confidential document from a "highly placed White House source."

According to the documents, the government plans to have the Union Carbide executives arrested by Federal Marshalls and to freeze the Dow Chemical bank account at the same time. The White House has declined to comment but the inside mole quoted President Obama off the record as saying "If I can kick one butt, I can kick two" - an apparent paraphrase of Sylvia Plath.

The above article was satiric...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Bloody Sunday Justice - at last

Yesterday, the Saville Report on the Bloody Sunday massacre was published. It confirmed what was known all along: that British soldiers fired on unarmed, peaceful demonstrators, murdering 14 of them - 13 that day, with one of the wounded dying later.

The background to the story was that a peaceful but "illegal" civil rights demonstration was held by Roman Catholics in the Bogside area of Derry (Northern Ireland) on the 30th of January, 1972. Members of the British Paratroop Regiment (who in fairness, it must be remembered, had been sent there initially to protect the Catholics from Unionist violence) opened fire, claiming that they had been fired upon first.

An inquiry by a tribunal led by Lord Chief Justice Widgery and completed in haste (reporting their findings on April 19, 1972), stated that the actions of some of the soldiers "bordered on reckless" but also concluded that three of the dead had been armed and firing weapons. This conclusion was based on the fact that they were found to have lead residue on their hands, implying that they had handled bullets (although the cartridges of bullets are made of brass) and nail bombs "found" on one of the deceased.

No explosives residue was found on any of the deceased and one of those who had such residue was known to work with lead solder in his normal employment. Moreover, it was known that in a number of cases, the dead were lifted into waiting vehicles by soldiers - who had themselves been firing guns. It was pointed out, even at the time, that this alone could explain the lead residue on the hands. But Widgery rejected this, saying that he didn't think it was very likely. There was just one problem: Widgery hadn't bothered to take any scientific evidence on the subject. Any competent forensic scientist could have told him that lead residue could indeed be transferred in this way.

It was also pointed out that the nail bombs supposedly found on one of the bodies could easily have been planted there. Certainly there was no evidence that any such bombs had been detonated. Furthermore no soldier was either killed or injured and no traces of any bullets or cartridges from any guns other than those of the soldiers were found.  Nor did anyone other than some of the soldiers claim to have seen any of the demonstrators firing guns.

Thus it was clear even at the time that all the victims were innocent. This means that Lord Widgery's report was not only wrong: it was brazenly dishonest. A coroner's inquest was also held at the time and the Coroner (retired British Army Major Hubert O'Neill,) required the jury to return open verdicts because of the overall uncertainty in any particular case. (NB Although the inquest covered all the deaths, each fatality required a separate verdict.) However, having required the jury to return open verdicts on those narrow technical grounds, the coroner then indicated his own overview of the actions of the soldiers as a whole when he stated that: " I would say without hesitation that it was sheer, unadulterated murder. It was murder."

All of this leads us to the present and what should be done about it 38 years later. Some would say forgive and forget. Others would point out that there is no statute of limitations on murder. It has been pointed out that the Good Friday Agreement granted a de facto amnesty for members of "paramilitary" organizations that observed the ceasefire unequivocally. Indeed Sinn Fein co-leader Gerry Adams made it clear in an interview while the agreement was being negotiated that failure to agree to early release of the "paramilitaries" was a deal breaker.

Now it is to the credit of the British government, that even whilst acceding to this thoroughly unreasonable demand (that violated the rights of the victims of terrorism), they never sought to introduce a similar provision for soldiers. However, notwithstanding this omission, the question is should such a reciprocal arrangement be deemed to apply?

I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand it is offensive that those who killed the innocent should escape justice. On the other hand it is equally offensive that one party to the agreement should be denied the benefits that are granted to the other. Some would say that a government and a genuine army should be held to a higher standard than terrorists masquerading as soldiers.  And this is certainly true. But it is not something that Gerry Adams can say - at least not legitimately.

But perhaps there is a remedy. It is now becomingly increasingly clear that some of the soldiers lied to the Widgery Tribunal and/or the coroner. Could these soldiers not be prosecuted for Perjury and Perverting the Course of Justice (both of which carry maximum sentences of 10 years imprisonment)? Indeed if it can be proven that any of them are guilty of Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice, they could be imprisoned for Life!

This could be used as a means for squaring the circle and ensuring that those who wronged the honoured and innocent dead - first by killing them and then by lying about them over their graves - are brought to justice. At the same time it would honour the principle of reciprocity and deliver a powerful message to Gerry Adams and his cohorts that they have made their bed and must now lie in it.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Murderers found guilty of manslaughter

It is now becoming routine for murderers to get off with manslaughter for a variety of legally irrelevant reasons that judges are allowing them and their shysters to get away with.

The reasons for these miscarriages of justice include such excuses as "I was only driving the getaway car," or "I was the robber, but it was the getaway car that killed him," or "although we battered him and it caused his death, there was an intervening medical error.

The latest example of this phenomenon occurred in the recent case of 24 year-old garage worker Saravanakumar Sellappan (above) who was beaten to death by three dirty little scumbags (or maybe I should say cumbags) called Jegir Ahmmadi (20), Roshan Samedov (18) and Awat Murad (18) (the spineless little boys on the right). These pieces of shit followed him and, in the context of a group enterprise, beat him to death to get his mobile phones. There is a dispute amongst them as to who struck the fatal blow but that is because these wannabe tough-guys weren't so brave when it came to taking their responsibility for their actions.

However it appears that before his death, the victim concealed the full nature of what had happened from the emergency room staff at the hospital because he did not want to worry his family. Consequently he was not given the medical treatment that might have saved his life. And on the strength of this, the death-deserving scum who attacked him were acquitted of murder, in a shameful miscarriage of justice, and were only convicted of manslaughter - which those cowardly little boys also denied.

Now here's something else of interest which I am hesitant to mention. The reason I am hesitant is because it lends itself to misuse at the hands of racists. Nevertheless I will say it and then state my own position on the subject. These three murderers came to this country in their childhood as refugees, two from Iran and one from Armenia. In others words, they came to this country seeking asylum, were welcomed by this benevolent nation state, grew up here getting all the benefits of our civilized society, our democracy and our education system - and how did they pay back our society that had shown them such kindness, generosity and hospitality?

They breached our laws in the most serious of ways, becoming violent robbers and ultimately murderers. Indeed this was not just a one-off opportunistic crime. It was done in a manner that clearly showed that they had experience of what they were doing.

Now I know that at this juncture some people will jump at the chance to cite this case as proof that we shouldn't allow in asylum-seekers, even if they are genuine refugees from oppression. Others - at the opposite end of the political spectrum - will no doubt accuse me of jumping on the anti-refugee bandwagon myself.

Neither claim has any merit. Granting political asylum to those who are genuine refugees from oppression is certainly an act of goodwill, rather than an act of duty. But as a benevolent nation we should continue to have such goodwill. That is not to say that we should not be allowed to set tough conditions in return for our goodwill, and these conditions may be tougher than we impose on native citizens. To use a familial analogy: you wouldn't throw an obnoxious teenage son out onto the streets for constantly putting his booted feet up on the coffee table. But if his friends did likewise you'd ask them to stop and if they refused you'd ask them to leave - not to mention probably never allowing them back. As for a family, so for a nation.

If this means that we have to wrest back into our elected government's hands, some of the sovereignty that we have signed away in European and international agreements, so be it. If this means that we have to defy a sovereignty-waiving agreement that our previous government signed (without a mandate from the people), so be it. If this means that our spineless prime minister - who also reneged on a promise of a referendum on that agreement - must belatedly sprout a pair of testicles and stand up the pseudo-liberal Nick Clegg in order to regain our sovereignty on this issue, then let it happen. If not, then let his successor do the unfinished job.

But whilst we should reassert our right to expel foreign criminals in the face of flagrant judicial misinterpretation of such noble concepts as the "right to a family life" - we should not be diverted from our tradition of compassion towards genuine refugees. Nor should we abandon our long and venerable tradition of kindness and fairness merely on account of the crimes of a few snivelling little boys who wanted to play being at men.

I suspect that one of the reasons they were so ill-equipped for that task was because they didn't have the benefit of any actual male role models, when they were growing up, to show them how real men behave. This in turn would explain why, after inflicting the fatal blows on their innocent victim and stealing his blackberry, one of the murderers, Roshan Samedov, put the sim card from the blackberry into his own phone and used it to make a five-minute call to a sex line. Presumably he belongs to the "little willy" school of crime.

Oh well. Look on the bright side Roshan. You only got nine years, which means you'll probably be out in four and a half. In the meantime enjoy your porridge - and your prison showers.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Rape and Revenge

Amidst all the politics that has been in the news today, there is one small item, unrelated to the election campaign that has caught my attention. The story concerns the fatal stabbing of a man who had previously been accused of sexual offences.

The reports on the radio were somewhat minimalistic, stating simply that a fourteen-year-old girl had been changed with the murder (by stabbing) of a 45-year-old man in Brixton. At the time I thought this mildly curious. Although reports of teenagers killing adults are not unheard of, they usually involved alleged killings of adults by teenage boys. When teenage girls are alleged to be involved it is usually either as an accomplice in a gang killing or when the victim is also a female.

Now I should point out that since the original arrest, several other arrests have been made and now both the girl and a fourteen-year-old boy have been charged. But what was more interesting – to the thriller writer in me – was that then stories began to emerge that the deceased had been investigated for alleged “sex offences.”

Since then matters have further crystallized, with the Crown Prosecution service acknowledging that such charges were considered but that it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed. Reports from the family of the accused girl have claimed that she claimed that the deceased man raped her and that she wanted to face him in court.

Now it is very important at this juncture that we do not prejudge the case – either with regard to the allegations of rape or with regard to the murder charges against the girl. But cases such as this, regardless of their outcome, do serve to focus our minds on such issues as unpunished crime, lack of confidence in the legal system and that very dangerous phenomenon known as vigilante justice.

Some people like to get up on their high horse about vigilante justice and portray it as worse than violent crime in general. Others make excuses for such practices and brush them off with glib phrases like “he had it coming,” without actually knowing whether or not the victim of the vigilante was really guilty of anything. Yet others, might get tempted to distinguish between a case in which no charges were brought and one in which charges have been brought and are awaiting trial, or at least a decision on whether to commit the case to trial.

This last one is touchingly naïve because it assumes that where no charges are brought it necessarily means that the suspect was innocent. The harsh reality is that guilty people can be acquitted, can avoid being charged for lack of evidence or the high costs of prosecution, or can in some cases escape detection altogether. The other side of the coin is that innocent people can be charged (like Colin Stagg), convicted and then cleared (like Barry George) or convicted and not cleared (like Michael Stone who was convicted of murdering Lin and Megan Russell on a basis of a “confession” invented by a career criminal in the neighbouring cell).

The problem of justice for victims is particularly acute with rape. Rape is a notoriously difficult to prove, because it is the only crime for which alleged consent is a defence. One cannot use consent in a theft case: one might claim that the owner made a voluntary donation, but that is unlikely to be taken seriously. There is no defence of consent in cases or murder, manslaughter, causing death by dangerous driving, grievous bodily harm or arson. But with rape, the prosecution must prove not only lack of consent but also that the accused either knew that the other party didn’t consent or was reckless as to whether or not the other party consented. In practice – in the real world – this is a very tough nut to crack.

Small wonder then that only six percent of reported rapes result in a criminal conviction. This is an appallingly low figure. Between the police taking the decision to “no action” some rape reports, others being dropped by the CPS and 58% of those that go to trial resulting in a guilty verdict, it is easy to see how this happens, as well as why. But it is of little comfort to the victims.

Even allowing for the fact that some reported rapes are invented, one must also allow for the fact that many rapes (some would say most) go unreported. Certainly based on the way rape victims are treated by the law (and the barristers who represent the rapists) it would be reasonable to conclude that the number of rapes that go unreported is far more than the number of false allegations of rape.

In general the figures are no improvement on those from the time that Sue Lees wrote her book Carnal Knowledge, exploring the way the law treats rape victims.

It should come as no surprise then that a rape victim might decide to take the law into their own hands and kill the rapist. Indeed the only thing that is surprising is that it does not happen more often. Perhaps part of the reason is one revealed by Sue Lees herself in her excellent book. When men hear about rape of women they care about, the first thing they think of is revenge. Some report that their male friends respond by offering to “beat up” the rapist. But – argues Lees – what women want is not so much revenge as “empowerment.” After the fact
vicarious revenge, carried out by a male friend, would hardly make them feel empowered.

But therein lies the heart of the problem as well as the answer. For whilst vicarious revenge does not convey any sense of empowerment to the victim, personal revenge just might. And the question we should now be asking is will we see more rape victims killing the rapists in the future? Because let’s face it the penalties for murder are low and so we have a diminishing deterrent against murder on the one hand and the rise in rape (without a significant rise in conviction rates for rape) on the other. Is it not inevitable that women will increasingly resort to direct action to empower themselves against rapists, including by the extreme sanction of killing them?

This is not a happy situation. But it is a product of what came before. Vigilante justice is a symptom not a disease. And this applies as much to a woman killing a rapist as to any other vigilante action.

The theme of rape and revenge features very prominently in my forthcoming thriller No Way Out.  In this case, the character seeking revenge uses guile rather than force. I suppose this is only natural. Guile could be called the “weak person’s force,” but it could also be called the “clever person’s force.” It depends how you look at it. Like direct force, it can be used for both noble and ignoble purposes.

But such is the ethical paradox. As long as there is force and guile in the world, there will be injustice. And as long as there is injustice in the world, there will be both force and guile.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Jon Venables - murderous scumbag

So the murderous scumbag Jon Venables is back behind bars. It doesn't surprise me.

For those who don't recognize the name, he and his mate Robert Thompson (who lives round the corner from me under a new identity) kidnapped, abused, tortured and viciously murdered two year old James Bulger.

It is an article of faith among wishy-washy liberals that anyone who reacts with anger rather than equanimity in the face of such heinous crimes, is the proverbial low-brow "man in the pub" who thinks with his heart but not his head. But the reality is that the bleeding heart liberal rehabilitation lobby are no less motivated by fantasy and wishful thinking than those right-thinking people who demand punishment. The rehabilitation lobby too are driven by emotion rather than reason. They too have the capacity for self-deception. They too believe only what they want to believe.

That is why Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were released at almost the same time. What is the likelihood that they were both fully rehabilitated at exactly the same time? Or are we asked to believe that those two "psychologically damaged" boys (the mitigation factor for their crime remember?) were miraculously cured of their mental ailments in less than six years and were merely waiting until their tariff came up so they would be eligible for release on license?

Methinks not. The rehabilitation lobby simply wanted to believe that they were cured. It was a classic case of wishful thinking and self-deception on the part of the bleeding heart liberals. And now the chickens are coming home to roost.

In the case of Robert Thompson I can tell you that he appears to have settled down. I can't say that he is "good" but he is at least polite. He is living with his girlfriend and toddler and (interestingly) a female blood relative! But as he has stayed out of trouble for the time being, it would not be right to "out" him.

However Jon Venables is another matter entirely. I will not repeat all the reports about him. Suffice it to say that while the courts have forbidden publication of pictures of him after those of when he was a child, above is an age-progressed picture of what he would have looked like aged about 18.

On a lighter note, for those who like a good thriller, check out my website: