Richard Smith: Pudsey Family ‘Slaughter’ Becomes A Play Along Murder Mystery
RICHARD Smith murdered his wife Claire two young children, Ben, nine, and Aaron, one, with a knife. He then set fire to the family home in Pudsey, West Yorkshire. Richard Smith died from smoke inhalation.
The Daily Mirror leads with a studio portrait of the family taken a few months before the horror and states: “SENSELESS.”
The paper couches the loss of life in the mundanity of the day to day:
“A trip to see Santa, a kids’ football team Christmas party, but hours later thy were all dead. So how did a row over dad’s flirting lead him to slaughter his perfect wife and children?”
The Mirror calls the children “adorable“. It says the wife was “perfect“. The Mirror is tugging at heartstrings. It seeks to stir emotion with a heavy spoon.
The Sun says the picture of the family is “heartrending“. The paper even manages to tell readers what Richard Smith was thinking:
Proud dad Richard Smith poses for an idyllic family portrait — alongside the “perfect” wife and sons he killed at the weekend.
Who needs phone hacking when you can read minds?
Back in the Mirror, the question hints at a cause for the “senseless” crimes.
Officers are investigating the theory that the 37-year-old junior football coach flipped after he was challenged by Clair, 36, over claims he had started a close relationship with another woman in recent weeks.
The Mail picks up the torch and runs with:
Was killer father having an affair? Detectives probe private life of triple murderer…
Detectives are probing the possibility that he had been having an affair and that this was a key factor behind the appalling multiple murders.
Did the mistress tell him to “slaughter” his family? The Mail and Sun agree that “slaughter” is the right word.
This seems unlikely, given the i’s front-page news:
The father who stabbed his family, then washed the car…before killing himself
Did he? If he did, might he have been mentally unbalanced? But we don’t know that Richard Smith washed his car after killing his family.
Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor addresses media:
“Ben’s advent calendar is not opened on the Saturday so we believe something’s happened overnight Friday or the early hours of Saturday but, of course, if anybody else has any information that would contradict that we would very much want to hear from them.”
The Yorkshire Posts states:
Reports that Smith was seen cleaning his car on Sunday – possibly after the killings – have been rejected by police.
The Daily Express ignores that and states as fact:
Next morning [after killing his family], Richard Smith completed his family chores, calmly washing his car, before killing himself alongside them.
Mr Taylor adds:
“What the state of mind of Richard, Clair or anybody else was will be a matter we’ll be trying to investigate. It’s not for me to guess now.”
No, but the media love a murder mystery…