Although the Mail didn't name the girl, she was named in the Sun, Star and Express versions of the same story.
The Sun said:
A gang of immigrant yobs who molested a girl of 14 escaped prosecution - because it was 'not in the public interest'.
Ria George was 'mauled' by eight Slovakian gipsies aged between eight and 12.
The Star, under the headline 'Migrant gipsy boys mauled me but the courts did nothing' said:
A gang of gipsy boys who molested a 14-year-old girl have escaped prosecution because it is 'not in the public interest' to take them to court.
Ria George was walking to a pal’s house when she was set upon by eight Slovakians, aged between eight and 12, who 'mauled' her in the street.
The Express went with 'No justice for girl molested by migrants':
A schoolgirl who was molested by a gang of east European boys says she has been 'treated like a liar' by the justice system, which has refused to prosecute her attackers.
Ria George was walking to a friend’s house when she was set upon by eight Slovakian louts who groped, touched and humiliated her in the street.
Several things stand out.
One is the prominence of the (alleged) offenders' (alleged) migrant status and/or race.
The Mail says they are from 'Slovakian gipsy' and 'Romany migrant' families who 'settled in the city [Coventry] in the late 1990s', although it's not clear how the paper knows this.
After all, if that timeline is right and if some of the boys are eight, they were probably born in the UK and aren't migrants at all.
So are they definitely Gypsies? Over at Mailwatch, 5CC reports that:
a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said that although it would be accurate to say the boys were Slovakian, “some reports have called the boys ‘gypsy migrants’ which would not be accurate language to use,” and not something the CPS would have said.
This is because the information the CPS has comes from the question on the police’s arrest form, which is self-reported by the suspect. It doesn’t include information like ‘gypsy’.
Secondly, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty seems to have gone out of the window. It would be surprising if this wasn't related to the boys (allegedly) being migrants/Gypsies.
Thirdly, having made clear their view that this attack was definitely committed by migrants/Gypsies, the papers heavily imply that it is because they are migrants/Gypsies that the CPS is not moving forward with the case.
The CPS are accused of 'refusing' to prosecute because it would not be in the 'public interest'. This allowed a flood of comments to appear on the Mail website to complain about 'one rule for 'them'' and other such unpleasant, but predictable, views.
But later in the day, a slightly different view emerged from the CPS, although it was ignored by the nationals. The Evening Telegraph in Peterborough reported:
A gang of boys arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Coventry did not face charges because of a lack of evidence, prosecutors said...
The Crown Prosecution Service refuted reports that it decided to drop the case because it was not deemed to be in the public interest. A spokesman said all decisions to press charges are based on two "tests" outlined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
He said: "The first is the evidential test where we have to be satisfied that there is enough admissible evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
"If the evidence satisfies the first test, then we have to consider the second test - the public interest test. A prosecution will usually take place unless the public interest factors against prosecution clearly outweigh those in favour of prosecution.
"In this particular case, there was a lack of sufficient evidence to give rise to a realistic prospect of conviction before a criminal court and so the public interest test was not considered."
Why is it this version is only reported in the local media?
Indeed, in the Coventry Telegraph's report on the case, there is no mention of the boys' race at all. So why did that become the focus when the story hit the four right-wing national tabloids?
And did they report on the case because they were concerned that a gang of youngsters were not being prosecuted for an assault, or because they thought there was an anti-immigration angle?
Well, the CPS also announced today that they would not prosecute anyone in the case of James Parkes, the trainee PC who was left with a fractured skull after being subject to a homophobic attack.
Detectives arrested 15 youths during the inquiry but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now decided there is insufficient evidence to charge them.
So two assaults and two cases where the CPS doesn't prosecute because of a lack of sufficient evidence.
But the one allegedly committed by migrants/Gypsies gets reported in four anti-immigrant national newspapers.
The one committed by people of unknown race, where the victim is a gay man, gets ignored by those same four national newspapers.
So, that question again: did they report on the first case because they were concerned that a gang of youngsters were not being prosecuted for an assault, or because they thought there was an anti-immigration angle?
(For another take on the story, please read 5CC's article over at Mailwatch)