Anorak | Professor Steven Rawlings is dead and media makes Dr Devinder Sivia look weird

Professor Steven Rawlings is dead and media makes Dr Devinder Sivia look weird

by | 13th, January 2012

WHEN news broke that Professor Steven Rawlings, 50, had died in the home of an Oxford don and maths lecturer Dr Devinder Sivia, 49, news media asked itself one thing: can we get a photo of Mr Sivia that makes him look a bit odd? The Mail leads with the image on the left of Dr Sivia in a loud shirt alongside an image of Mr Rawlings dressed in ‘normal’ attire. There are other photos of Dr Sivia on the web (see below), but the Mail has made its selection. Wonder why it went for that photo of that man they rename “Dr Singh” (see below). (Well, aren’t they all called Singh?)

The Mail says Professor Steven Rawlings had been “battered“. Police had been called to an “incident” at Dr Devinder Sivia’s bungalow in Southmoor, near Abingdon. The Mail’s diagnosis is that Prof. Ralwings died after a “heart attack“. But Thames Valley Police said the post-mortem on Prof Rawlings had failed to establish a cause of death. Police now say the death may be “a matter for a coroner’s inquest rather than a criminal court“.

Still, Dr Sivia was held on suspicion of murder but has since been bailed.

The Mail notes:

Minutes after officers arrived, Dr Sivia – who was dressed all in white – was led away in handcuffs.

Noting his clothes seems odd – unless you are a tabloid trying to paint a picture.

The Mail then cooks up a tasty theory:

Last night police were trying to establish how the men, who were colleagues in the astrophysics department of the university and co-authored an academic text, fell out. One motive being considered is that they may have argued over ‘academic matters’ at Dr Sivia’s home in Southmoor, near Abingdon.

Gosh! That would be exciting, wouldn’t it. Two boffins rowing over an esoteric point of mathematical theory to the point of..murder. No idea where the Mail got it’s theory from, but our “sources” suggest an episode of Murder She Wrote might be it. Thames Valley Police have launched a murder investigation. But that does not mean a murder occurred.

The Mail then says:

The murder bears all the hallmarks of an Inspector Morse mystery.

No. It doesn’t. Not unless you’re deranged and can’t separate fact from fiction. Or you’re resolutely sticking with the Murder She Wrote angle.

The Telegraph (which also leds with the photo of Dr Sivia in his big shirt and Rawlings in his more sober top) notes:

Police believe that the pair, said by neighbours to be “the best of friends”, had an argument after returning to Dr Sivia’s house following a meal at local pub.

Or as the starry-eyed Mail says:

Detectives are also trying to establish if the two men attended the St John’s College ‘feast’ on the night of the tragedy.

In the pub?

This is a formal dinner which takes place regularly in the main hall of the college, where Dr Sivia is a maths lecturer. All the dons at the college are invited and are allowed to bring a guest.

Oh. Like on the telly.

Dr Tony Lynas-Gray, a research assistant in Oxford University’s astrophysics department, says:

“Dr Devinder Sivia was a great friend of Stephen Rawlings. Dr Sivia is a very knowledgeable statistician and very much respected by students with the lectures he gives. Stephen Rawlings was a great man and a great astronomer. He was very much liked by his students and colleagues. We’re entirely devastated.”

Over at the crime scene, a neighbour is talking:

“Apparently it happened late on Wednesday night because the police came and banged on our doors at about 1.30am. There was a lot of noise and commotion – it was a little bit perturbing for something like this to happen in our quiet road. There must have been four or five police cars outside the house at one stage. I saw a man wearing a turban being led away from the property. He was cuffed and two policemen were with him. It was very dark and I couldn’t see him clearly, but he was dressed all in white.”

Good of the Mail to include this key witness statement.

Detective Superintendent Rob Mason tells press:

“It does appear that no one else was present at the address and we are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

A neighbour named Duncan Logan tells the Sun:

“It’s like a bolt from the blue. They were nice, gentle, well-spoken, polite and hard-working people. I am proud to have had both as friends. I never heard them row. They seemed to respect each other enormously and talked very highly of each other. I’ve no idea what might have happened. Devinder lived alone and I don’t know if he had any relationships. I never saw him with anyone.”

Do we even know that crime has been committed? No.  But if the press can turn Dr Sivia and Prof. Rawlings into cardbaord cutouts in a game of media Cluedo, let’s enjoy why we can, eh…

Posted: 13th, January 2012 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink