Category Archives: murder trials

The tragedy of penological deflation

In 2003, Dalrymple writes, the ‘rock’ exponent Bertrand Cantat

brutally did to death the actress Marie Trintignant, with whom he was having an affair. He beat her so severely that she died not long afterwards of her head injuries. He was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis at the time.

For this terrible crime, in which there were no mitigating circumstances, Cantat

spent four years in prison, a derisory punishment.

Dalrymple asks:

If you have to serve only four years for such a crime, what punishment can a lesser, but nonetheless serious, crime attract, assuming that the principle of proportionality of punishments has still to apply?

Dalrymple’s nurse-poisoner book plan spurned

Victorino Chua: jailed for a minimum of 35 years for murdering and poisoning patients at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport. Two victims suffered agonising deaths and a third was left brain-damaged

Victorino Chua: jailed for a minimum of 35 years for poisoning patients at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital. Two patients suffered agonising deaths while a third was left brain-damaged

Dalrymple, author of So Little Done: The Testament of a Serial Killer (1995), suggests to a number of publishers that he write a book about the trial of Victorino Chua, the poisoner, but

no publisher accepted my kind offer, despite the fact that I had experience of murder trials and understood the complex pharmacological matters at issue.

The main reason given for refusal

was that the accused was a Filipino rather than a son of the soil and therefore there would be no market for such a book.

Does it mean

that the British public is interested only in native and not imported wickedness? That we expect Filipinos to behave in this fashion and therefore there is nothing surprising or interesting about Chua’s behaviour? Or is it that murder trials are interesting only if there is the prospect of the rope at the end of them?

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