Coming rather late to this one, as I have been rather busy. We have all probably read by now of the death of Police Constable David Phillips, at the hands and wheels of a car-thief, now charged with murder; who preferred to swerve on to the traffic island where the policeman stood rather than drive over a ‘stinger strip’ laid on that road. Now there are two issues which spring to mind when discussing the wider story: one of the publicity-grabbing family’s reactions to the death of a husband and a father: the other concerning the reasons why it was an obvious choice of the killer to drive and aim his vehicle at the policeman, rather than to surrender or have his tyres shredded by the spiked strip.
First the family reaction, or as Miss Hopkins put it ‘The X-Factor video tape’ of the wider family, filmed and photographed when they had placed their very public acclaim, grief and sorrow to the watching world. I watched approximately fifteen seconds of this ‘tribute’ before turning to a channel which featured paint drying, as this was infinitely more acceptable than the outpouring of a ‘fantasy grief’ which, if anything, diminished both the man, and his service to his family, job and wider community. Yes, we accept that he was a family man; yes, he was taken in the most sudden and cruel fashion possible from their lives: but did the family have to accept the presence of fourteen microphones and innumerable cameras, to pass this message to a presumably avid world outside what should have been a very private moment of family grief? What was with the eleven family and friends gathered in front of the coffee table? It reminded me of a press conference about the illusions of climate change, and the terrors thereon; or some bunch of loons wailing about how the Palestinians were being hard done by, after due retribution had been ladled out by Israeli jets following yet another batch of Hamas-launched rockets falling on to Israeli territory. Following the press show, we were given a second episode as we were supposed to gain solace by seeing the grief-stricken widow carry her daughter to lay flowers at the scene of the policeman’s death. Why that, on top of everything else? Over the Top; it was worse than that, it was private family grief exported for public consumption, and that, folks, is just plain wrong!
The second part of my small and slowly-crafted diatribe concerns the 18-year-old killer, his actions, his motives, and what he will expect to receive from our so-called Justice system. His legal team, by their statements, are already laying the grounds for a choice of either ‘straight manslaughter’, or ‘manslaughter because of diminished responsibility’; and he will probably get away with that, because the Crown Prosecution Service is usually too keen to accept a lower plea because, if they press for ‘murder’ they will have to prove that this vicious scrote meant to kill the policeman! He will probably get a ten year sentence, meaning that he will be out in five years, with that same cocky grin plastered all over his face. In my day, He would have been faced with a slow walk to a painted grating, then a noose would be solemnly wrapped around his neck, and, ten seconds later and six feet longer; his neck humanely broken; we would have been rid of this specimen, unworthy of the title ‘human being’ as he had discarded any claim to that high status when he slammed his foot down on the accelerator before plowing into the body of P.C. David Phillips.
And, purely as an afterthought, but one I have examined before, what’s with all the flowers, bouquets, teddy bears and assorted toys left at the site of this killing? Sadness, sorrow; or just a desire to get your picture in the news cycle whilst proving that ‘you care? Balderdash!