Monday, 7 March 2011

Flat for sale

'Shameful...finger pointing and character assassination'. That was the reaction of Jo Yeates' boyfriend to media coverage of the arrest of her landlord Chris Jefferies.

Both Enemies of Reason and Minority Thought covered the dreadful, intrusive, guilty-because-we've-decided-he-is 'reporting' at the time.

The Mail called Jefferies 'Mr Strange', 'the 'nutty professor' and 'Professor Strange'. He 'idolised a poet obsessed by death', they claimed. One front page splash carrying a large picture of Jefferies asked 'Was Jo's body hidden next to her flat?'; another wondered if he held 'the key to Joanna's murder'.

The Mirror called him a 'peeping tom'.

The Sun called him 'strange' and 'obsessed by death' and in one article, as Anton pointed out, he was described as:

"weird", "lewd", "strange", "creepy", "angry", "odd", "disturbing", "eccentric", "a loner" and "unusual".

Today, news broke that Jefferies had been released without charge by Avon and Somerset Police last Friday. The Mirror had the story as one of their top stories on their website:

The Sun also had it high up on their homepage:

The Express' resource-starved website also carried the news, albeit below yet another article plugging a programme on Channel 5:

And the Mail? They relegated the latest developments in the case to halfway down their homepage under the headline:

And four sentences into that story:

Police have now confirmed he was discharged from his bail conditions on Friday night.

Will this info be any more prominent in tomorrow's print edition?


  1. I might be insulting the intelligence of a lot of readers here, but how clear is the difference between "released from bail" and "released on bail" to someone casually glancing over the headlines? "No longer a suspect" strikes me as much better.

  2. He's selling the flat? Eh? What do they want him to do with it? Make a Jo Yeates shrine perhaps? Mail is a disgrace.

  3. "Man who was belittled and dehumanised by bloodthirsty press is innocent"

    Would be nice if there was just one newspaper which printed such a headline, but they were all pretty much at it.

    The landlord probably doesn't want to sell the flat he's made a home in. Jo wasn't killed there, nor was it part of the actual murder scene, it played a relatively minor role in the whole story. The only reason he's getting out of there is because the press have hounded him out of his home by their disgraceful coverage. Once you've had that kind of press it's obvious you'll get people harassing you on your own doorstep. He's probably been at least verbally assaulted on his own street due to newspaper lies and the idiots who are taken in by them.

    If I was him I'd be looking into legal action against the papers who slandered him and ruined his life.

  4. Mr Jefferies should sue all those newspapers for defamation of character and for destroying his livelihood as a landlord. Even if the UK libel laws do get straightened out to make them less in favour of the plaintiff, I think Jefferies has a clear case. - Iain


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