The Turkish Gang War

The gang-related revenge killing or ‘tit for tat’ feud accounts for a very small proportion of murders in London. It is however one of the most disturbing, conjuring up echoes of the American mafia as represented by The Godfather and other films. This type of murder appears to flourish when when those responsible seem to […]

A Sister’s Plea for Help

The sister of a father-of-five who was murdered three years ago blames The Sun newspaper for the failure to catch his killers. In December 2011, Sarah-Jane Cunningham spent the third anniversary of her brother’s death handing out police appeal notices. She was prepared for indifference. But she was genuinely shocked when some members of the […]

A Brief History of Cameras in Court

Earlier this month Sky, ITN and the BBC lobbied the government to allow cameras in court. The hope is that criminal trials could be televised as early as early as 2015. The ban on taking photographs goes back to 1925 but even before then cameras had to be smuggled into courtrooms in hats or bags. […]

On Racist Murders

The murder of Danny O’Shea in east London last week has highlighted one particularly divisive issue – when can you classify a murder as racially aggravated? There have been questions – particularly from what you might call ‘right wing organisations’ such as the BNP – as to what exactly distinguishes the murder of a black […]

Hacking scandal’s first victim?

While the hacking scandal is dominating the news, it’s worth remembering a gruesome south London murder 24 years ago. Daniel Morgan, a 37 year-old private investigator, was hacked to death with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham. His brother Alastair believes that Daniel was killed to stop him […]

Stenography and Charles Dickens

This week the BBC reported – in its own strange way – that court proceedings will be digitally recorded instead of taken down by dedicated stenographers. This could be said to bring an end to a tradition going back to the 17th Century. It’s also quite a sad goodbye to a profession that has included […]

How to Name a Serial Killer

Every report of the case of serial killer Stephen Griffiths referred to him as the ‘Crossbow Cannibal’. But where did this name come from? Griffiths gave this name when making his first court appearance before Magistrates in May 2010. He didn’t come up with it himself – because it had already featured in a headline in the Sun […]