Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ipswich murder enquiry: Tom Stephens' Myspace

Ohhh.. yes, yet again The Guardian comes up with with thrilling and cutting edge news regarding the Suffolk murder enquiry:

"MySpace has admitted that it took down the profile of Tom Stephens, one of two men arrested in connection with the murder of five women in Ipswich, to "preserve" the information for police.
Users can delete their own MySpace profiles, but in the case of Mr Stephens the social networking website took the decision to block access to his page following his arrest.
"We have taken down the profile and preserved the data should it be useful for law enforcement in their investigation," said Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer at MySpace. "

I'm not surprised given the self-evident importance and relevance to the murder enquiry of Tom Stephens' Myspace page which in the clear interests of the public, The Guardian chose to publish in its unedited, full glory on Monday.
The Guardian's comments of the Myspace page betray its importance at uncovering this calculated killer, helpfully informing readers
"The grainy main photograph on the 37-year-old's profile on the top social networking website shows him smiling and wearing a fishing hat. He has eight people listed in his "friends space"."

As if this information in itself were not bad enough, the article continues with further damning evidence of Mr Stephens' guilt including a sinister predisposal towards lactose heavy desserts and possible transexual tendencies...

"Clicking on the photographs section reveals six images of Mr Stephens, including one in which he is holding up a can of custard and another in which he appears to be wearing eyeshadow.

Finally, as if this information had not already, if not made us feel that we are getting inside the mind of a tortured killer, then at least evoked sentiments of some unease, we are told that Mr Stephens has no respect for authority,
"In the companies section, he says he is a "team leader" and has worked for Tesco "from 1997 until they sack me".
He also has a penchant for classical music, rather like Alex in a clockwork orange (Canon in D Major by Johan Pachenbel is the soundtrack to his profile page).

This is BORING and LAZY journalism at its best, telling nothing whist pretending to reveal everything. If it was meant to suggest that a brutal serial killer could have a Jekyll and Hyde existence, in which his online life seems normal and innocuous this piece may make some sense, but the tone of the article does not suggest this. Worryingly, it's almost comical in its apparent "objectivity". I'm not a sick person by the way, I am disgusted and horrified by the murders.
Laura Barton's follow up piece "How do you know who your 'friends' really are?" advises Myspace users to "Just say NO to strangers!" in a somewhat patronising and condescending manner which evokes the attitude of a neurotic mother of an eight year old boy who has just been allowed to walk to the bus stop on their own for the first time:-
"Generally I ignore anyone I don't actually know - a policy that has served me well, except in the case of the bodybuilder from Birmingham who sent me a follow-up email some weeks later, demanding in forcible capitals: "DO YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND? YES OR NO? ANSWER ME. I did not answer him. After all, I decided, that's hardly the way to speak to a friend."
Very sensible, Laura. You clearly have a sixth sense when it comes to character judgement. We should all follow your lead and EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.

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