Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Mass manslaughter in Derby

Its a sad irony that the news media are eagerly waiting at the court to bring us the sentences for the manslaughter of the six children in Derby at the hands of their `parental` wpos (hint, w = worthless).
 Sky and BBC news will interrupt whatever is being screened at the time to get us there live, windswept and almost as it happens. During the olden days of Albions Fatal Tree, we'd be gathering at Tyburn or Northampton Market or at any of the numerous gibbets that were part of the system of the day, although it is highly unlikely that an incident like this one, committed then, would have raised an eyebrow, let alone a hue and cry, fires and infant mortality being par for the course.
As many of my old chums will know, those poor kids had already been sentenced to their chaotic lifestyle, pretty much from conception. There was no media scrutiny of these poor souls then, yet bad times were very much on the cards from the get-go. I guess being placed by social services on the `at risk` register, even as an embryo (if the family background and circumstances were risky enough) pales into insignificance when compared to the end result of this horrendous case. Of course reporters must be factual in what they report - and very careful about saying what they really think. I know what that feels like. Its almost as if we must say, `we know there are awful people out there just like this trio, breeding with complete impunity and no perceivable parenting skills, we just have to let them get on with it and hope for the best`. Its wrong to be prejudiced (although it saved my neck on many occasions, maybe I'll call that `sixth sense suspicions`), so I ought to say that the other tragedy is that none of those children had the chance to grow up and make something decent of themselves, maybe even discover a cure for something horrible. The prospects for that happening were pretty remote, way more remote than some or all of them ending up like the people who brought them into the world, but you never really know for sure until one or the other happens, you just have a pretty good idea.

In the below news article, there is an interesting quote from Professor David Cantor, a name well known in police investigative circles for his work in psychological profiling. He stated, "He [Mick Philpott] lived in a world where he could get away with anything....".   Correct, Professor, him and thousands of others - and I haven't got a tenth of your qualifications. I await hearing of his pre-cons with no anticipation of surprise whatsoever.


Anonymous said...

". Its wrong to be prejudiced (although it saved my neck on many occasions, "

Spot on. I'll be stealing that line.

JuliaM said...

"As many of my old chums will know, those poor kids had already been sentenced to their chaotic lifestyle, pretty much from conception."

Much weeping and wailing for the manner of their deaths, but where was the concern for the manner of their (brief) living?

Hogdayafternoon said...

JuliaM. My thoughts, hidden between my own lines. The blaming and finger pointing has yet to be brought to our notice but what is becoming clear from the evidence introduced at court is that those poor souls were factored in to his income stream. The problem is that a lot of tar will be flying off that particular brush in the coming days - until the newsprint is dry and the kids revert to being statistics.

Blue Eyes said...

As a modern day Jesus might have said "the scum will always be with us".

But it surely doesn't help for the state to encourage them to reproduce?

Tadanori said...

I don't think it is wrong to be prejudiced in many circumstances and such an accusation can be a smoke and mirrors allegation by those who are ignorant of human cruelty outside their own sphere of experience.

We all build up prejudice from the day we are born. Its experience based on the relative likelihood that something has or is about to happen. As Hog states: 'it saved my neck on many occasions'.

Without prejudice our society would probably collapse under the weight of procrastination as everyone fails to act on anything, not just the legal system, until they have all the facts.

In a sense, Risk Assessment might be thought of as prejudice. For example, I have no evidence that my unsupervised nine year old son will fire a loaded gun but in my judgement his curiosity will get the better of him some time in the future so I will ensure he does not have that opportunity. It could be said I am prejudiced against him. I prefer to think my understanding of human nature, temptation and inquisitive children guided my actions and not prejudice against my son due to lack of evidence.

It has always struck me as perverse that the legal system is deliberately prejudicial in that it forbids a jury to be informed of all the facts before they make a decision. Serial rapists, mass murderers, prolific burglars etc. all benefit from the non-disclosure of their previous crimes. How can a jury not be prejudiced against the current victim of a habitual criminal?

Its a wonder to me that police powers of arrest on 'reasonable suspicion' hasn't been thrown out since it is based upon prejudice - not having all the facts at the time of decision.

Hogdayafternoon said...

I often feel our system gets its judicial knickers in a twist over the `beyond reasonable doubt/on the balance of probabilities` yardstick. But then the dormant criminology student inside me reminds me of that `labelling` theory - one of the few I found actually had legs. And yes, Blue, they will always be with us (funny how it always rises to the surface - but my `O` level in Physics gave me the answer to that one). I also agree with Tadanori's comment re the power of arrest. I too am amazed its still there, although I did see its practical demise during my last years in the office of constable.

Must dash, I'm off to Nottingham to try and get a good spot so I can punch a prison van. Always makes me feel better - hope its a Renault.

Hogdayafternoon said...

I suppose we can consider ourselves lucky that they didn't have this judge presiding.

Blue Eyes said...

I have to admit I have been actively avoiding all coverage of this story because I refuse to deliberately buy in to a moral panic.

However, from what others have said the gist is that he planned to set the house on fire but planned to rescue the kids. The rescue bit of the plan went wrong and the kids died.

If that is right, how come he only gets fifteen years? It might only be manslaughter because he didn't intend for the kids to die, but what about the arson bit?

In some legal systems he'd get fifteen years per child dead plus whatever for the arson.

I don't get it.

Why was he not in jail for the earlier attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend?

I'm not all rampantly Daily Mail about this, I just don't understand why the legal system fails to prevent people like this from being out and about causing misery to others.

Hogdayafternoon said...

I totally agree with you in not participating in the national hair-tearing and rending of clothing.

As to the sentences, well the last case I had a personal and `emotional` connection with involved a paedo who had abused several young boys. He was sentenced to `life` - but, he had nine months earlier been released less than halfway through a seven year sentence imposed for a string of exactly similar offences. That'll teach him.

Blue Eyes said...

I'm not bothered about whether anyone learns their lesson, some people just need to be kept out of harm's way!

If they also become renowned poets or mathematicians while banged up, that's a bonus.

Hogdayafternoon said...

or an expert on canaries...

TonyF said...

For what it's worth, I think that any act of arson, irrespective of injuries/fatalities should be treated as attempted murder. (Actual murder if fatalities occur)

JuliaM said...

"...I just don't understand why the legal system fails to prevent people like this from being out and about causing misery to others."

The legal system can only step in after he's done something illegal. The system that bears the most scrutiny in this case is the benefits system.

Blue Eyes said...

Julia, he was apparently convicted of attempted murder some years ago.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Sliding up the seriousness continuum of justice - very clever :-/