Rebecca Leighton: Five ‘Victims’ Dead In Spuggy’s ‘Town Of Fear’
REBECCA Leighton has knocked the phone hacking scandal from the front pages of all but the Independent, Times, Telegraph and Guardian. The so-called quality press with more front-page space to play with are joined by the Daily Star in the hunt for Rupert Murdoch’s blood – Richard Desmond’s organ uses his rival media mogul’s trial as a chance to exhume Jade Goody and promote Big Brother on his Channel Five.
As for Leighton, the nurse suspected of murdering three people at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital the news is full of speculation:
The front page-headlines:
“HOW MANY MORE POISON VICTIMS?” – Daily Mail
“WERE 14 PATIENTS POISONED IN HOSPITAL?” – Daily Mirror
“NOW THERE’S 5 DEAD” – Sun
The Sun embarks on a flight of fancy as it enters the “Town of fear”:
THE mood was as dark as the clouds swirling around the town’s famous hat museum yesterday. There was little talk of anything else in Stockport but that a serial killer may be in the locals’ midst.
May be, indeed? Rebecca Leighton has been charged with no crimes, let alone convicted of murder. But it’s big news- even bigger than hats.
And then readers get his stab of hard perspective:
Outside the Merseyway Shopping Centre, mum-of-four Tina Murray, 33, summed up the sombre atmosphere as she said: “It’s frightening when it’s so close. Mind you, the hospital didn’t have a great reputation anyway. I’ve caught infections twice there and became really ill.“
Anyone else around in the town of fear to spread the fear?
Her friend Cathy Craggs said: “I don’t want to go there again. It’s very scary.”
Few people want to go to hospital. It is most often a case of needing to.
The paper then delivers this invaluable insight:
Sick patients are such easy prey
A sick hospital patient, who expects to feel ill and may not spot signs such as feeling faint or confused, is an easy victim.
That kind of insight is overlooked by the Mirror, which instead reports what people on Facebook are saying about “Spuggy”:
Her friend Andrea Sullivan-Scott wrote on Facebook: “Havent slept thinking of you becks.
“You wouldnt harm a fly and everyone that knows you knows this to be true. We are all behind you kid.” Another pal Diane Rothwell wrote: “Becki, the news is totally insane, I do not believe it for 1 second. I hope you can put all of this behind you and re-build your life. Ignore all of the haters and stay strong.”
And Sarah Warburton wrote: “Can’t stop thinking about what your going through. They couldn’t be more wrong about all of this, love you and stay strong! Everybody is here for you.”
What of the dead? All five were seriously ill. The Sun compares the alleged murders to the case of Beverly Allitt, the nurse who murdered children. The Sun delivers this hype:
It emerged yesterday that the saline serial killer may have murdered more victims than Angel of Death Beverley Allitt. Nurse Allitt, now 42, was given life 18 years ago for murdering four children and injuring nine others in a spree that shocked the nation.
The Independent takes a look at the alleged victims – although it states badly that they are “VICTIMS”:
Alfred Weaver, 83
Died yesterday after suffering a hypoglycemic episode 10 days earlier. Widower of 20 years, he ran a successful alarm business in Stockport where he had lived since the 1960s. Cause of death still unknown.
George Keep, 84
Was suffering from lung cancer and recovering from a fractured hip but his condition suddenly deteriorated after he was put on a saline drip last week. Died on 14 July. Cause of death still unknown
Arnold Lancaster, 71
Retired photographer with the Stockport Express. Spent time living in Australia and was a model railway enthusiast. Died on 11 July after being admitted to the hospital. Cause of death still unknown.
Tracey Arden, 44
Grandmother and mother of two who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. Died suddenly on 7 July two hours after being placed on a saline drip. Was living in care and was regularly admitted with associated illnesses after being diagnosed with MS 10 years ago. Cause of death still unknown.
Unnamed woman, 84
Died on 14 July but case was referred back to police by a coroner yesterday after discovered to be suffering from low blood sugar levels. Cause of death still unknown.
Those are the facts. Rebecca Leighton has been arrested. Her innocence must be presumed. But the press are already talking of “Victims”…