May 09, 2003

Lousy Excuses In a move

Lousy Excuses

In a move only marginally less stupid than breaking into Tony Martin’s farmhouse, 28-year-old David Gardner crawled into the chimney of the Twin Farms pub in Newcastle. Armed with screwdrivers, pliers and a hammer, the 6ft Gardner got as far as a bend in the pipe and became stuck.

It took a specialist rescue vehicle and four fire engines to free him. He had to be pulled backwards for 12 feet through an aluminium pipe only 18 inches across. Not surprisingly, it took 40 minutes to get him out.

Gardner originally claimed that he has gotten stuck trying to rescue a cat. In court he admitted to burglary. In mitigation, his lawyer said, "This was an unsophisticated burglary which was bound to fail and he has to endure numerous jokes from numerous police officers when they see him."

So you think there can’t be a more unbelievable excuse than the “trying to rescue a cat” ploy? Wrong.

Lorna Stewart was having an affair with Rena Salmon’s husband. Even though Lorna was her best friend, Rena did not appreciate this. However, she didn’t fly into a fit of rage. It wasn’t a secret and she had known about it for ages, even talking to the neighbours about it.

So it wasn’t a crime of passion when she showed up to Stewart’s hair salon in west London with a double-barrel shotgun. Showing no emotion, Rena discharged both barrels into Lorna’s abdomen. Then she sat by the body sending text messages to her estranged husband and friends, telling them what she had done.

Yesterday at her trial on the charge of murder (seems pretty obvious), it was revealed that Rena told the police she didn’t mean to kill Lorna, but only hurt her. Somehow I don’t see the jury buying that.

Friday, May 9, 2003

Jailed in Britain for Believing American Legal Theory

Wednesday, I mentioned the refusal of the Parole Board to release farmer Tony Martin and that it intended to make the absurd argument that burglars need protection for householders who would dare to protect themselves or their property.

Not only did they argue it, the judge agreed. He said that it was possible he might be burgled again. “Unfortunately the possibility that Mr Martin might again be the victim of crime is not as remote as he (counsel for Martin) suggests.” Thus, because Martin could become a victim of crime, he must stay in jail until the standard early release date of July 28 – the completion of two-thirds of his sentence.

Now why Tony Martin is the threat between now and the end of July, but not after that time was not made clear. He could just as easily be burgled on July 29th as he could on May 10th. Is the purpose of his sentence to give thieves peace of mind for an extra ten weeks?

The Parole Board based its decision on a probation report that deemed him unacceptable because “He has very strong views that he was entirely justified in protecting himself and his property. He holds the view that an Englishman’s home is his castle and he is entitled to take any steps necessary to secure that.” That’s right. Tony Martin is being kept in prison because he holds unacceptable beliefs about the right to defend his life and property. He refuses to be reprogrammed. It would appear that Tony Martin thinks too much like an American to be allowed to live his own quiet life in his remote farmhouse.

Revisionist Cartography

Ordnance Survey, the Government’s official mapmaker, is removing hundreds of churches from its maps. Any church that is no longer used for worship, regardless of its historical or archaeological significance, will no longer have a symbol on OS maps.

Heritage groups, which were not consulted, are beside themselves. Richard Morris, a church historian and a commissioner for English Heritage, said: “Deleting them from the way we represent landscape is deleting one layer of our cultural habitat, for no good reason. It’s crazy. It’s crackers. Maps are not just about getting from A to B, they’re about understanding where we live.” Alex Hunt, conservation officer for the Council of British Archaeology, said: “There goes a millennium of history. Churches are part of the history of the landscape.”

Posted by david at May 9, 2003 11:20 PM