In 1984 Hilda Murrell, a 78-year-old distinguished rose-grower turned anti-nuclear campaigner, was found brutally murdered outside her home town of Shrewsbury, England. The case became one of the biggest, most bizarre and baffling British murders of the 20th century involving political conspiracies surrounding the nuclear industry and the Falklands War.
After a cold case review, in 2005 Andrew George, who was a 16-year-old petty thief from a foster home, was convicted. In 2011, Hilda’s nephew, former British Navy Commander Robert Green, does not believe Mr George committed the murder – but who did? Robert spoke to Jason on Monday Matters.
Words cannot express the pain and anger that many British people feel at the killing of a UK MP, in broad daylight, on 16 June 2016, on the streets of the small Yorkshire village of Birstall; death snatching the life of one of our most promising Member of Parliament – Jo Cox.
So far all we know is that her attacker was in his 50s, described as a loner who may have mental health issues – but on the latter point we still do not know.
It says a lot about our view of parliament and our politicians that few people outside of her constituency or parliament would have been aware of just how promising and respected Jo was. She was only in parliament for 18 months – yet managed to punch through not only on political issues but also across the political divide. Unlike some politicians who would argue over the direction of a worm – just because they couldn’t bear to agree, Jo was different and would work with anyone of whatever persuasion if they shared her views on the various humanitarian causes she championed.
But let’s be clear – Jo wasn’t just an MP – she was a daughter, a wife and mother of two children whom she loved more than anything. In an emotional yet considered response, after his wife was pronounced dead – Jo’s husband Brendan said: “Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo”.
We still do not know the cause – however, speaking at the scene of her death the leader of the labour party Jeremy Corbyn alluded to a possible answer when he said “She was taken from us in an act of hatred, in a vile act that has killed her. It’s an attack on democracy, what happened yesterday. It’s the well of hatred that killed her “. One assumes that the Prime Minister has been given constant updates by those holding the killer and may have passed on some information to Mr Corbyn.
If you want to know who Jo was and the type of platform that she was forging her way on – just listen to her maiden speech in the House of Commons in 2015.
I was on facebook when the news of Jo’s shooting started to break – responding to someone who had written a post on the EU referendum and how they only way to regain our country and stop immigration was to vote to leave. My critical response to this including lamenting the idea that it is the EU that makes us undemocratic – when we have nearly 900 unelected Peers in the House of Lords with the power to change, delay and black legislation and whom cost the taxpayer about £21 million per year and that we should sort out the deckchairs on our own beach before looking over the water and blaming a messy beach abroad for our troubles.
I also touched on how the focus on immigration and EU bureaucrats let our own MPs and parliament off the hook – and was pretty scathing about our MPs. Then as news started to roll in that not only had Jo been shot, but had succumbed to her injuries, I decided I could not hit the reply button. It just didn’t feel right to be having a go at politicians when one had just been murdered on a British street in a small British village. Maybe me and the British public have been too harsh on our MPs – the majority of whom, are not that different to us and who come within the communities we ourselves live.
I saved a copy of what I have written and I’m now not sure if I will ever respond to Mr Angry about Immigration – because, actually, I don’t want to get caught up in the tit for tat nasty – blown out of all proportion debate that we have had so far. I will write something – but maybe I will be that bit more respectful to those who govern us – and maybe we all should. I note that because the killer is white, with links to the far right – no mention of the words “terrorist’ or ‘terrorism’ has been made- yet, it is hard not to imagine if the killers skin colour had of been different – the headlines and news bulletins would be flooded with words trying to link this to some muslim extremist group either here or abroad – like what happened when the soldier Lee Rigby was murdered by a man who had mental health issues – who happened to be muslim. Maybe we in the media need to also learn to just watch our language and how we present the news to the public.
If all the public hear from the news that they consume and by certain political groups that we are “awash” with immigrants and that we are ‘full’ ‘cannot cope’ our shores are ‘flooded’ and our politicians are inept and unable to control the ‘flow of immigration’ – then maybe, just maybe, it lights the torch paper in people making them angry which then leads to some, who do not have the full control of their mental state, to see themselves as champions for Britain. Whist taking the life of a wife and leaving to children without a mother.
Jill Dando was a BBC journalist and presenter who for 14 years worked on successful programmes such as the flagship BBC Breakfast Time, Breakfast News, the BBC One O’Clock News, the Six O’Clock News, the travel programme Holiday, and the crime appeal series Crimewatch (from 1995 until her death). She was named BBC Personality of the Year in 1997.
On the morning of 26 April 1999, Jill was fatally shot outside her home in Fulham, London. No one has ever been successful found guilty of her murder. Local loner Barry George was jailed for her murder in 2001, but his conviction was overturned in 2008 following the emergence of new evidence. No one else has been charged. Her killer still remains at large.
Jason McCrossan spoke to Criminologist Dr James Treadwell from Birmingham City University about this peculiar and extremely sad case.