Britain gave the world William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell and Paul McCartney. And quite a few people we'd rather not talk about.
Emma Winnall's age was given initially as 94; it has also been given as 93 and 95; while her age may be uncertain, what is not, is that anyone who attacks an elderly woman in her bed the way someone did in her case needs to be put behind bars for a long time. After a public appeal, two people were detained in connection with this attack, which resulted in a police officer becoming so excited that he tweeted news of the arrests to the world. Both suspects have now been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
Many crime buffs will realise that while this sort of thing may be the norm in the United States, in Britain we handle crimes with more discretion, especially crimes of this nature where an accused may be facing a long sentence, and where anything that may prejudice a fair trial can be and at times is dealt with severely, as in the Chris Jefferies case. The offending tweet has now been removed, and no doubt the officer has been warned about his future conduct.
In February and March 1993, before anyone here had ever heard of Islamism, a terror group planted two bombs in Warrington. The IRA has a track record in one form or another going back to the 19th Century; the 1970s was a particularly horrendous time in both Northern Ireland and on the Mainland, but these attacks will long be remembered, because the two fatalities of the second attack were 3 year old Johnathan Ball and 12 year old Tim Parry.
The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility for both the outrages, and the parents of Tim Parry set up a foundation in the names of both boys. Three years after the murders, a plaque was erected in their memory. This week, it was stolen, apparently for scrap metal. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the price of this piece of metal is around £30; its value to the memory of these two young boys and to the people of Warrington is beyond mere money. The crime has of course generated outrage in the town. Sadly, this is one of many similar thefts in recent months due primarily to the rise in the price of precious, semi-precious and even base metal.
A similar act of grave robbing by proxy was reported too this week, when Marc Kirvin pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to stealing a dead woman's purse. Arthur Weinrab's detailed report can be found here.
Finally, by far the most serious crime to have been committed in Britain this month; a 6th child has died after the arson attack on the Derby home of father of 17 (seventeen) Mick Philpott.
The inquest has opened, and anyone hoping this might have been a tragic accident will be sadly disappointed, because it has now been confirmed that petrol was used as an accelerant. After the death of their 13 year old son Duwayne in hospital, Mr and Mrs Philpott donated his organs “to save the life of another child ”.
Those with long memories may detect a similarity between this crime and one committed in December 1979 when an arson attack on a house at Selby Street, Hull, resulted in the deaths of three boys. It was believed the family were targeted because of their lifestyle, but it was actually started by a youth of low intelligence who preyed on young boys, and who had an interesting sideline in serial arson. Doubtless the police will bear in mind there could be many possible motives for this current attack, and although they will follow up all possible lines of inquiry, they will not allow themselves to be led down blind alleys.