Posted by 5cc
April 14th, 2009
Via Uponnothing comes a story about the Mail being less than truthful about the death of a teenage girl.
There are two main threads to the story that the Mail picks up on. From the local paper we learn that although the death of the girl looks very much like suicide, the Deputy Coroner rules that out as the cause. Apparently:
Deputy coroner Christine Freedman, recording an open verdict, ruled that there was no evidence to conclude that it was suicide.
She told the hearing at Ashford last Thursday : “This is a tragic case of a young girl who appears to have died as a result of hanging herself.
“I have found nothing that could really give a clue as to why this might have happened”
So, no suicide. Maybe a tragic accident, but the Deputy Coroner has ruled out suicide as the cause. That’s the first thread.
The second thread is this:
The inquest heard that some time before her death Georgina had had a row with two Astor schoolgirls who had gone to confront her at her school..
But that didn’t happen because staff intervened and Georgina believed the quarrel was finished, the inquest heard.
It seems that there was going to be a spat with a couple of girls from another school, which came to nothing because of staff intervention. Nothing to spark a suicide, it would seem.
By the time the story makes the Mail, it becomes ‘Grammar schoolgirl, 14, found hanged after row with pupils from nearby comprehensive‘, which neatly packages the story for the Mail’s audience as one of middle class girl hounded to her death by the savage lower classes. Great.
In this version of the story:
A girl at a top grammar school was found hanged amid fears she was bullied by pupils from a nearby comprehensive.
Georgina Williams, 14, was discovered in her bedroom by her parents at their £750,000 home in Dover following a feud with a group of girls said to be ‘after her’.
Messages posted by friends on the social networking website Bebo suggested Georgina may have been intimidated and upset in the run-up to her death.
Although the paper is careful not to use the word ’suicide’, except to say that no suicide note was found, and although the paper includes quotes from police later in the article to suggest that they thought nothing of the incident with pupils from the comprehensive, we’ve already been led to believe that the girl committed suicide. And those Bebo ‘friends’ appear to be firends of friends, who didn’t know her that well.
The Mail has form in misreporting suicides when it would make a better story. The PCC has upheld complaints about the paper moving a death forward in time by a year to fit it in with a spate of suicides in Wales; the paper reporting that a man had committed suicide the day after seeing his baby’s scan; and the paper saying a man had killed his wife and committed suicide when that wasn’t the case. There are others, and the Mail’s angle made a better story than the truth in all these.
And this one, it seems.
Get over and read Uponnothing’s take on this at the Angry Mob for more detail.