Monday, 22 October 2012

A murder in Turkey

The following borrows heavily from a blogost by Jane Fae.

Jane looked at the coverage of Chris Collier and his conviction, in Turkey, for the murder of his wife.

The headlines in the UK media included:

Two things stand out from these headlines from the Sun, Mail and Metro. First, it is stated as fact that Julia Collier 'was born a man'. Second, the use of 'after he discovered' implies that there is a link between the murder and this 'discovery'.

But are either of these things true? After all, the Sentinel in Staffordshire (where Collier lived before emigrating) and an English-language newspaper in Turkey reported the conviction without reference to Julia being 'born a man'.

Jane Fae suggests this angle may have come to prominence in 2010 in an article in the Daily Star by Jerry Lawton. It said:

Police are examining postings in an internet forum used by expat Brits from someone claiming to be Collier.

One said: “I paid for my wife and then moved to Kusadasi in my rented apartment.”

The blogger added that Julia “used to be a bloke”.

Police are trying to establish if Collier himself posted the message or was being taunted by someone posing as him.

The forum in question is the Kusadasi Fans Forum. There, in 2006, someone using the screen-name 'chriscollier' wrote:

I paid for my wife, and then moved to kusadasi in my rented appartment, my wife julia who may i add used to be a bloke sings in the koramar and she brings me hours of happenis. What you all reckon then. I want your views.

In their replies, the forum moderators pointed out that this person was posting from an IP in Leeds. Not from Kusadasi, Turkey. The user was banned after posting only 11 comments.

It is very difficult - maybe impossible - to know who posted this comment and yet this appears to be the origin of, and only piece of evidence for, the 'she used to be a man' claim.

If we imagine that Collier did actually write that comment in 2006 and the murder took place in 2010, the way the headlines have linked both events appears problematic.

But the possibility that he 'was being taunted by someone posing as him' in this comment certainly raises questions about the recent coverage. 

Moreover, the claim he 'bought' his wife and 'then moved to Kusadasi' is at odds with the statement from a friend quoted in most of the articles, who says:

"Julia was just the nicest girl you could ever meet. She was a singer, and she used to perform at the Korumar Hotel in Kusadasi. That is where they met."

It is not clear if the trans claim is true and, even if it is, whether it was the motive. It appears that all the articles making these claims - which the local paper in Staffs, and a paper in Turkey did not repeat - are relying on a six-year-old comment on a forum that could have been written by anyone.

(Hat-tip to Jane for her detective work)

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