Tabloids Use David Beckham To Make Sense Of Robert Sebbage’s Senseless Death
Is it any more tragic than the death of Rifleman Will Aldridge, 18, from Bredenbury, Herefordshire, who died in 2009 when he was caught in an explosion in Helmand province, Afghanistan?
Is it more worthy of our attention than the death if Rifleman Liam Maughan, of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, who was shot dead in Sangin in Helmand Province in 2010?
The Daily Star explains why this is front-page news in its front-page headline:
“BECKS Boy Knifed To Death”
He was David Beckham’s son? No. The Star explains all in its opening paragraph, which, tellingly, does not even contain the name of the dead man:
A TEENAGER who once stood alongside David Beckham as an England mascot has been knifed to death in Greece.
And that’s it. The Mirror goes even better. It explains the entire story and reason for is prominence in its front page:
This is England mascot Robert Sebbage with his idol David Beckham on the proudest day of his life… yesterday, aged 18, he was knifed to death on a Greek island over a taxi fare”
Sebbage was 14 when he stood by Beckham in friendly match between England and Brazil. Laurie Hanna tries the impossible: to make sense of a futile loss of a young life. The facts are not all in but the hacks still manages to cast the victim in a soft glow and massage what few facts we know:
It started out as just another night of holiday fun for a bunch of close teenage mates enjoying their first foreign jaunt together.
But the laughter quickly turned to terror as one, Robert Sebbage, was stabbed to death by an angry cabbie and pal Jordan Manson left seriously injured after a brawl sparked by a boozy row over fares.
Laughter. Jaunts. Angry. Boozy row. The story is loaded. But what of the facts?
Robert, who at 14 stood next to England captain David Beckham on the Wembley turf as an England mascot before a friendly in 2007, was cornered down an alleyway, stabbed through the heart and left to die in a pool of blood. The cabbies were armed with knives and baseball bats.
He was alone and unarmed? The cabbies were barbaric?
Taxi driver Stelios Morfis has been charged with premeditated murder. A second, Dimosthenes Mylonas, 25, was held after being accused of acting as an accomplice in the attack at Laganas on the Greek island of Zante.
The Mail has another angle:
It is alleged that one of the drivers was heard saying: ‘I was annoyed because the young British tourists bothered us with lasers’. Robert Sebbage, who was once an England football mascot, collapsed and died in the street after a blade was plunged into his heart during a confrontation with two taxi drivers in the early hours of yesterday morning.
An alley becomes a street. Cabbies become two cab drivers. Was the victim alone?
The 18-year-old’s close friend, Jordan Manson, was taken to hospital with deep cuts to his chest and a collapsed lung following the attack in the resort of Laganas on Zakynthos. Three others in their group also needed medical treatment.
There were five British lads in the group? Dimitris Angeloudis, leading the police investigation. Says he:
“A holidaymaker lost his life over a misunderstanding, over insults and macho behaviour by young men on either side. There is no evidence whatsoever that the British youths were armed with knives or any similar dangerous instrument. Witnesses testified that there was a full-fledged brawl. Then at one point the accused drew a knife and stabbed the victim several times in the side of the ribs, at the level of the heart. He has confessed to his actions and has been charged with premeditated murder.”
A misunderstanding? Or as the Sun puts it:
Officers said Morfis – a former bodyguard to the island’s mayor – confessed to the killing, but claimed he acted in self defence.
It’s a horrible story of the halcyon days of youth cut dead. But selling it to us as a tragedy for David Beckham does a disservice to all involved…