I always find this sort of news story interesting:
William West, 76, of St Helen’s Park in Hastings, had been with his wife Kate, 26, at their holiday home in Gambia.
The couple were on a day trip to Senegal when he disappeared after going into a shop on his own on 3 July.
Sussex Police said Gambian police had contacted them after a body was found. Four people are helping authorities abroad with their inquiries.
A spokesman for the Sussex force said the four people were a 26-year-old woman and three men.
With the information released and the tone of the reporting, we are led to believe, as readers, that the wife has bumped off her husband in an African country. Our imagination takes us on to the notion that she might have done it for the insurance money or to escape an unhappy marriage of convenience. Perhaps she chose an African country in the belief that the criminal investigation system there might not reach her. Already, we’ve bounded to the conclusion that she is guilty – we have been conditioned to do so by years of this sort of reporting and our own prejudices.
The truth, of course, could be vastly different. He may well have been the victim of a random attack. He could have died from some entirely non-violent cause. She may be as innocent as a newborn lamb, truly distraught at the loss of her husband. In fairness, we can not say because we are not party to all of the facts and won’t be until the trial (if there is one) is reported in due course.
Tabloid journalism has a lot to answer for. We assume guilt too often.