Recycled news 3: the Mirror and Jill Dando
Monday 24 February, 2014
The Mirror today revisited the theory that Jill Dando was murdered in 1999 in reprisal for presenting a television programme that angered the former President Milosevic.
The paper reports that Serb police have three suspects in custody and have issued a warrant for the arrest of a fourth. All were senior security service officers; two are already in jail for other murders.
Unfortunately, the headline is untrue. Four do face cop quiz - but not over the Dando killing. They are to be questioned about the murder of a journalist in Belgrade.
Slavco Curuvija was shot dead on his doorstep as he arrived home two weeks before Dando met her death in similar fashion on her doorstop in Fulham. Curuvija's widow, who was with her husband when he died, has always claimed that he was the victim of an assassination squad on account of his criticisms of the Milosevic government.
In March 2012 Branka Prpa told the Mirror's Steve Myall: “I think there is a link between Dando and Curuvija. I think they were both executed.” Both victims were high profile journalists who had upset the Serbian regime, she said. Both were approached from behind, forced to the ground and shot in the head at close range. In both cases the shootings were over in seconds and the victims died instantly.
It sounded plausible, but Scotland Yard was unconvinced.
In its splash story today - also written by Steve Myall - the Mirror reports on the developments in Serbia, saying:
"The four men can be unmasked for the first time today by the Mirror after a supergrass linked them to Slavko’s death. One, Radomir Markovic, is serving 40 years for murdering former Serb president Ivan Stambolic. The others are Milan Radonjic, Ratko Romic and Miroslav Kurak."
Ms Prpa is again on hand to give her opinion:
“Considering the fact that it is absolutely clear the security service committed my husband’s murder, I believe those are the people that could be involved in the murder of Jill Dando. The handwriting is the same, the methodology of the shootings is the same. It is very possible and is not unrealistic that this is the work of the same people.”
She was, the story continues, in reported rather than direct speech, convinced that the arrests would result in the former secret agents being quizzed over Jill's murder.
No one in authority, however, was able to confirm that assumption - although 'sources' did tell the Mirror that the four would be questioned about Curuvija and 'a dozen of unsolved murders'.
So there we have it. Four people are to be questioned about another murder. The widow of that victim thinks the two cases are linked. It's not much of a 'Jill murder sensation'. Still, Dando's brother says he will watch developments with interest, as he would. Scotland Yard say they will look into any new information, as they would.
Oh, and the Mirror is a little late with its unmasking. The arrests took place on January 14 and all four suspects were named at the time.
It's a pity. Because without the overegging, there is still an interesting story here. It is possible that someone will ask these four questions about Dando - although given their backgrounds, the chances of them breaking down sobbing and admitting 'Yes, we can't bear it any more. We did it' are remote.
As, indeed, are the chances of them ever appearing in an English courtroom - guilty or not.
Which is all to the good from the point of view of any newspaper that wants this story to run and run.
Deceived and deceptive
Is this child crying of hunger - or because the earthworm she befriended in America slithered away while she slept? And does it matter?