11.16.2003

The Real Reason For Murder

While surfing for articles for the previous post, I came across this Guardian UK article about the diary Emma Thompson, the UK woman whose 1995 Murder appeal set an important precedent in UK law. (Basically, the defense of provocation in cases of extreme domestic violence and abuse.)

Most murders occur for specific reasons. The Sniper assassins did not murder because of a movie or a video game. There HAS to be a reason why people like them, or the Son of Sam, or the Zodiac Killer, pick up weapons and use them against their fellow man.

Emma was born in 1967. Within five years her parents had split up. Her mother and stepfather were both alcoholics, and her stepfather violent. From the age of 12, Emma started to run away from home and was drawn into drugs, drink and prostitution. After her death in July 1998, from an accidental overdose, Emma's father produced a suitcase of her belongings from his attic. Inside a diary was found, dating from the three years before her arrest, which is published today in a new book, The Map of My Life, The Story of Emma Humphreys.

Had these documents been known about at the time of her trial, they could have provided critical evidence to support her defence of provocation. They provide a fascinating record of Emma's life as a prostitute, of her relationship with her boyfriend, of her growing fear of his violence and her disintegration into alcohol-induced oblivion.

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