The Loneliest Jukebox

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Monday, May 22, 2006

One sensible reporter; another journalist sold a pup

To Welwyn Garden City, where another happy slap killing took place. Except it didn't quite happen like that. Callum Latham, now a teenager with a manslaughter conviction, had friends with assault videos recorded on their phones. To impress them, he shattered Richard Topp's jaw and watched as the man fell fatally. The link to happy slapping is tenuous and - without a camera present - it's hard to say it was the motive. Meanwhile Mr. Topp's family are more forgiving than vengeful, with his fiance giving Latham a bible and his father Mike Topp saying "I don't see the point of a huge sentence. It doesn't achieve anything with kids like that."

So without a lobbying family and with common sense limiting how far the local story can be linked to the national panic, this case looks like fading quickly from the national scene and becoming a mess for family members on both sides of the courtroom to sort out.

Woof! Did you know that the new form of happy slapping is dogfighting? Just two streets away from my former home? Err, except it's not really. An anonymous witness said this had been taking place, the second time she'd heard 'dog screams' in six weeks, but no-one saw anything. The three alleged fight dogs seemed totally unharmed when inspected by police. But it would be a yelping, crying shame if the local newspaper missed the national bandwagon.

Incidentally, Aldriche Way is within earshot of an extremely reliable source of dog screams...*

*...immortalised in the novel Sharking and the film It Was an Accident, if that's the right word... (click links to buy).


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