Calls for Coronation Street to be banned after spate of murders
THE “Corrie Copycat killer” is the story of the killer who copied Coronation Street’s murder plots and killed for real.
Its the Daily Mirror’s front-page news:
In a chilling imitation of Street villain John Stape, the teenager beat his victim, doused her body in petrol and set fire to her house
Ban Coronation Street now! At Nottingham Crown Court, a Corrie fan is being sent down for murder:
Existing in a fantasy world of TV soaps, violent films and sick websites, a schoolboy descended into a twilight world of horror.
Hold on a moment. The killer was interested not only in primetime soaps with unlikely storylines but also “sick websites” and “violent video games”. Had he stay tuned, this impressionable lad could have watched the TV news, which is chock full of violence and death. He might also have been exposed to: Tom & Jerry, Six Nations Rugby, newspapers and angry rap music.
Finally, unable to tell fact from fiction, he copied a murderous storyline from Coronation Street and beat a woman to death.
Being unable to tell fact from fiction is what the soap strive for. Shows written by fiction writers and acted by actors end with health warnings – “if you have been affected by anything on tonight’s show who can call a phone number and get help“.
Shaun Smith, prosecuting, told Nottingham crown court:
“You will hear about a young man who immersed himself in a fantasy world; fantasy words he wrote, television drama, films he accessed by the internet. He did that to such an extent that boundaries between real life and fiction became very, very tragically blurred.”
Might it be that this young man sought out things that confirmed the images in his head and his native predeliction to violence?
Police found the boy’s computer was packed with violent scenes from soaps including Hollyoaks and Emmerdale and also contained clips from the notorious torture film Saw and controversial TV shows such as Trial and Retribution.
Cray-zee stuff. Hollyoaks! What a nutter. Anyone who thinks that’s real needs sectioning.
Four days before the brutal slaying he wrote a graphic story about a man killing a woman with a hammer. And police experts found he had accessed a file entitled “How To Get Away With Murder” on a violent and pornographic website and also looked at documents named “If You Could Get Away With Murder Would You Kill Someone” and “People Who Got Away With Murder in Shows”.
All, as we know, scripts used by Coronation Street writers. It’s a slippery slope. One minute you’re reading about murder – the next you’re imagining Tracy Barlow stoving a builder’s head in.
There have been 91 deaths in Coronation Street as part of the storylines to entertain the masses. The picks of the bunch – as told by Corrie.net:
1961, 11 September: Ida Barlow – Ida left a husband, Frank and two sons David and Kenneth when she was knocked down by a bus
12 October, Colin Appleby – Only weeks after marrying Christine Hardman, Colin met his end in a car accident
1964, 27 January: Susan Schofield – The local residents had been campaigning for a zebra crossing but it was too late for little Susan who was knocked down by a lorry
11 May, Sonia Peters – Sonia was in a car near the viaduct when a train came through it. She was due to marry four weeks later
4 September: Harry Hewitt – Harry returned to Weatherfield for the wedding of Elsie and Steve Tanner. He never made it because his van broke down and he was crushed to death by a van when the jack slipped
1968, 28 September: Steve Tanner – Steve Tanner was found dead at the foot of the stairs in No11. It was later discovered he was murdered and Len Fairclough was chief suspect. The following year the real killer, Joe Donelli, admitted to the crime
1969, 5 November: Reg Ellis – Reg drove the coach to Windermere and was killed when it smashed into a tree
1970, 8 April: David Barlow – David was killed instantly in a car crash in Australia
12 December, Joe Donnelli – Joe confessed to the murder of Steve Tanner then shot himself dead in No5
1971, 27 January: Valerie Barlow – Val was electrocuted by her dodgy wiring on a hair dryer plug. She left Ken and their twins Peter and Susan
1975, 29 January: Lynn Johnson – Lynn was being beaten by her husband. She had been murdered by her husband Roy when she was discovered dead in Len Fairclough’s kitchen
9 July: Martin Downs – Bet’s son Martin was killed in a car crash
1 October: Edna Gee – Fred Gee’s first wife Edna was killed in a fire at the Mark Britain warehouse
1977, 21 February: Janet Barlow – Janet died of an overdose in the front bedroon of No1 when Ken refused a reconciliation
1978, 11 January: Ernest Bishop – Ernest died after being shot in a wages snatch at Baldwins factory
1979, 7 March: Driver – The driver of the wood lorry who died at the wheel as it overturned into the Rovers window injuring Mike Baldwin, Betty Turpin and Alf Roberts
1980, 30 July: Renee Roberts – Reene was killed in a car crash when she was learning how to drive
7 December: Len Fairclough – Len was killed in a motorway accident returning from a date with his other woman
1985, 3 June: Don Ashton – Don visited Mike in the Rovers and left a brief case there accidentally. That evening he drove his car into the canal. The case had £4,000 in it
1986, 6 January: Pat Bradley – Jenny Bradley’s mother Pat was killed when she was knocked down by a car
1987, 23 November: Joan Lowther – Joan, the wife of Dr Lowther died of a heart attack following the raid on her home, where Hilda Ogden was cleaner
1989, 11 January: Eddie Seddon – Sally’s dad was killed in a lorry crash
15 February: Brian Tilsley – Brian died after being stabbed to death outside a night club
8 December: Alan Bradley – Alan was knocked down by a tram in Blackpool
19 July: Tim Arden – Killed in a car accident on his return from his mother-in-law’s funeral. He left a daughter, Victoria
Sandra Arden – Killed in a car accident with her husband Tim
1993, 12 February: Lisa Duckworth – Knocked down by a car in Coronation Street, she suffered brain damage that killed her
1995, 31 May: Samir Rachid – Died after getting beaten up, his organs were used for donors including his step-daughter Tracy
21 July: Clifford Duckworth – Killed in a car accident in Spain with his wife Elsie. Elsie Duckworth – Killed in a car accident in Spain with her husband Cliff
1997, 14 February: Joyce Smedley – Knocked down and killed by Tony Horrocks
7 April, Derek Wilton – Suffered a heart attack during a road rage attack
8 October, Don Brennan – Drove Alma Baldwin’s MG Midget into the viaduct
1998, 11 October: Anne Malone – Freshco’s manageress Anne Malone was locked in a supermarket walk-in freezer whilst she was attempting to implicate fellow manager Curly Watts in a blackmail plot against Freshco. She froze to death but Curly’s name was cleared
18 November, Des Barnes: Des died in hospital of a heart attack following an attack from drug dealers. They were visiting his stepson Tony Horrocks and Des was injured whilst trying to protect him. Natalie, his wife of just four weeks was devastated
Between 4 and 6 February: Tony Horrocks – The remains of a body were dicovered on a building site in Victoria Street in March 2000. They were badly decomposed and originally though to be the 100 year old remains of a victim of Fred Elliott’s murderous grandfather, Bernard Cartwright – but they were eventually they were found to be drug dealer Tony Horrocks’. He had been beaten around the head and his body dumped in a cellar. Fellow drug dealer Jez Quigley was eventually charged with his murder.
24 September: Judy Mallett – Judy received a superficially slight leg injury as a passenger in Vera Duckworth’s car when it was involved in an accident. No one realised that Terry had sold Vera an unroadworthy ‘cut & shut’ vehicle. Over the period of a week, the injury formed a clot with travelled to her lungs, and she died of a pulmonary embolism whilst pegging out clothes in the back yard of No9. Husband Gary was away as Best Man at Ashley Peacock’s wedding, and Judy died whilst her twins were crying for their mother inside.
200, 7 June: Alison Webster – Alison never led a particularly happy life, weighed down by both her and her parent’s guilt over the death of her younger sister when Alison was still a child herself. After Kevin Webster brought her back to Weatherfield at Christmas 1999, it seemed like a new start- she was pregnant and they married. However the late pregnancy and birth of Jake Webster was complicated, she passed a Group B Streptococcus infection onto him and he died the same day. The burden of Alison’s guilt proved too much, she cracked and walked out of the hospital with newly-born Bethany Platt. Kevin finally found her, but in the depth of her despair she ran into the path of a lorry. No one knows if it was a deliberate act or just a terrible accident.
15 September: Jez Quigley – After testifying against him in Tony Horrocks murder trial, a rather upset Jez had Steve McDonald beaten up and left for dead. Jim McDonald found his son just in time, and as he was being treated in hospital administered his own beating to Jez. Admitted to the same hospital, a battered Jez started to smother Steve with a pillow in intensive care – but one of Jez’s broken ribs punctured his lung and spleen and he collapsed, dead, on top of Steve.
12 October: Dean Sykes – Linda Baldwin’s younger brother who got totally out of his depth when he held up a till at Freshco’s supermarket with a handgun. Instead of the expected few pounds he found himself locked in the supermarket with hostages and hoping he could raid the safe and escape with thousands. As the seige developed, police surrounded the building, and after he shot at a hostage they stormed it. Dean was shot by police markswoman Emma Taylor, and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
2001, 11 February: Susan Barlow – In late 1987 Susan fled from Weatherfield and her marriage to Mike Baldwin. For 12 years she managed to keep the birth of their son Adam a secret, but when Mike found out accountant Susan panicked and tried to run again – this time to Ireland. En route to the ferry at Holyhead her car ran off the road and into a fence on the M6 near Preston; Susan was killed but Adam survived. Susan was buried in Weatherfield, next to her mother, Val Barlow.
2002, 2 January: Dennis Stringer – Although Les Battersby attempted suicide by gassing himself in his taxi after his wife Janice left him for Dennis Stringer on New Year’s Eve, it was Dennis who was first to come to his aid. Desperate to keep Les alive, Dennis rushed him to hospital, but unfortunately he crashed the taxi on the way. Les was relatively unhurt, but Dennis died in ITU in the early hours of the next morning of 2 January.
4 February: Duggie Ferguson – 2002 was not a happy year for Duggie. First he was gazzumped for Weatherfield Rugby League social club AFTER selling the Rovers, and then he entered into redeveloping flats at Oakhill with Richard Hillman. Duggie was determined to cut corners, preferably without Richard’s knowledge. But Richard suspected this, and one night confronted Duggie at the development. Hoist by his own petard, Duggie leant over a bannister which collapsed, and he plunged two floors. The fall didn’t kill him outright, but Richard chose to rifle through Duggie’s pockets, take his keys and raid his safe rather than summon help. Duggie was later found dead.
20 May: Patricia Hillman – Work on the Oakhill flats (see Duggie Ferguson’s death above!) was proving more expensive than Richard Hillman expected – so it was amost inconvenient time for his ex-wife Patricia to tell him that she was moving to Australia and wanted to liquidate her directorship. She agreed to settle on £25,000, but then Oakhill needed £20,000 spending on underpinning. Richard took her there to explain his predicament; a row ensued and Richard hit Patrica with a spade, hard enough to kill her. He left her body in an underpinning trench, to be covered in concrete the next day. Richard’s explanation that she was “down under” took on a whole new meaning…
2003, 13 January: Maxine Peacock – Richard Hillman, attempting to kill Emily Bishop because he needed the money for her house which he had funded through a payback scheme, broke into the Peacock house, knowing Emily was there babysitting. He was dressed in Aiden Critchley’s clothing, planning to frame him. He had a crowbar and bashed Emily on the head. Maxine came in to check on Joshua and saw Richard there. She tried to run upstairs to her baby but Richard swung the crowbar and smashed Maxine in the head as well. Emily survived. Maxine did not.
12 March: Richard Hillman – After killing his ex wife, Patricia, Richard’s finances went from bad to worse and he decided on a plot to make Audrey think she was losing her mind and sign her money over to Gail. Eventually he stepped up the reign of terror, and attempted to kill Audrey by setting a fire in her house. Audrey survived. Foiled again. On to Emily then. But that went awry when Emily lived and Maxine died. This affected Richard deeply, as he does put family in high regard and he’d shattered a lovely young family and left a baby motherless. The money finally started coming in because the bail hostel was rescinded and he was able to sell his flats. Also one of his elderly clients died and he would get the money from the sale of that house. Killing Maxine turned out to be all for nothing. The guilt eventually became too much. Gail began to suspect and confronted him. He confessed and ran off. He returned a week or so later, completely deranged. He kidnapped Gail and the children and tried to gas them in the garage. He was discovered so drove off in a frenzy. He eventually drove the van into the canal, in an attempt to kill them all but Martin and Tommy managed to save them all except Richard, who drowned for his sins.
2004: Neal Fearns – Son of Brenda Fearns, father of Bethany Platt. Neal died in a car crash. Sarah went to the funeral and took Bethany. Brenda began helping out with babysitting but her grief and bitterness over her divorce sent her over the edge.
2005, 4 March: Tommy Harris – After forcing his daughter to have an abortion, Tommy had definitely gone too far. When his daughter Katy confronted him at the garage, he tried to calm her. But when an ugly confrontation ensued, it ended when Katy smashed him over the head with a monkey wrench – just as Angela arrived. Tommy died minutes later.
20 April: Katy Harris – Katy killed her father in the heat of an argument but her mother, Angela, talked her into covering it up. Angela took the blame and went to prison. Katy felt so guilty that she committed suicide by feeding herself spoonfuls of sugar, which seriously affected her body because she was diabetic.
2007: Charlie Stubbs – January 15 – Charlie was killed by a bash over the head by jealous girlfriend Tracy Barlow, who was angry that he’d cheated on her with Maria Sutherland.
June 8: Paul Connor – Paul had been seeing call girls and the most recent one turned out to be Leanne Battersby. Frightened that she would tell Carla, his wife, he piled her in the boot of his car to take her to Carla to insist they hadn’t actually had sex but the car got rolled in an accident. Leanne was fine, Paul died.s.
2008, October: Liam Connor – Liam cheated on wife Maria with his former sister-in-law Carla. Carla’s fiance Tony found out and organized a hit and run to kill Liam on the night of Tony’s stag do.
2010, February 8: Joe McIntyre – Joe was in dire straits financially and decided to fake his own death by making it appear that he drowned. Gail and he fought and he injured his hand. He sailed onto Lake Windemere and in the process of trying to get off the boat into a dingy, fell overboard, having been hit by the sail boom. He couldn’t get back in the boat due to his injured hand and he drowned for real. Gail was accused of murdering him for insurance but was finally set free.
June 1: Robbie Sloane – Robbie helped Tony Gordon escape from prison but was later shot by Tony in the factory.
June 1: Tony Gordon – Tony set the factory on fire and, after letting Carla and Hayley escape, chose to stay in the factory and died in the fire.
July 30: Colin Fishwick – John Stape decided to use Colin’s identity to return to teaching since Colin was leaving the country. Colin returned and wanted things sorted but during an argument, he dropped dead of a heart attack at John’s feet. John and co-hort Charlotte left him in the factory where the floor was being repoured with cement. His body has yet to be discovered.
December 7: Ashley Peacock – Died in the Joinery bar wreck after the tram crash.
December 8: Molly Compton Dobbs – Died in the wreckage of the Corner Shop after the tram crash.
December 9: Charlotte Hoyle – She attacked John Stape with a hammer but he managed to get it from her, chased her and bashed her over the head with it. He dragged her to the site where the tram crashed but she was still alive, although brain dead. Her life support system was later turned off in hospital when her parents asked him if he thought they should give permission (they thought he was “Colin”, Charlotte’s fiance).
October 28, 2011: John Stape -John escaped custody and hid out in Wales. When he found out Fiz was on trial for the crimes he comitted he returned. He kidnapped Rosie Webster to try to convince her to tell his tale to the judge to get Fiz off. Kevin and Jason confronted him and John drove off with Kevin in persuit. John, trying to evade Kevin, drove into the back end of a lorry. He died later in hospital after an emotional reunion with Fiz. Fiz had been convicted of the murder of Colin Fishwick but was freed due to John’s confessions.
The boy attacked his victim at her home in Nottinghamshire in April last year and then padded her body with paper and started a fire in a bid to commit the “perfect murder”.
A jury has unanimously found him guilty after a two-week trial. Det Chief Insp Kate Meynell, of Notts Police, said:
“The prosecution’s case was that the boy planned and carried out what he thought was the ‘perfect murder’, believing that he would get away with it. It showed some degree of preparation because he was so consistent with the story he was giving. I’m not sure the victim’s family will ever deal with it. The whole thing has been chilling. The way he spoke in court about what he did without any empathy or remorse is chilling, and that is totally alien to me.”
The telly fans will be sentenced in April after psychiatric reports.
Of course, the part about Corrie was nonssense. But an ITV spokesman seizes the moment:
“ITV takes careful steps to ensure pre-watershed drama is appropriate for a family audience, and the Stape murder scenes were fully compliant. Trial and Retribution is a matter for parents as it is a post-watershed programme aimed at adults.”
You want the perfect soap murder? Stick the victim in a car and have them infected by a topical issue …