An increase in the number of fuzzy photos of murder victims has prompted a newspaper editor to appeal for members of the public to carry a decent quality photograph in case they die in a newsworthy way. When Jan Harvey was brutally killed by a gang in Moss Side, Manchester, her partner Alan Tebbings was naturally devastated. But what made it worse for Alan was that he realised he didn’t have a good photograph of Jan to give to the local newspaper.
After a mad scramble through their house Alan, 44, eventually found a ten-year-old picture taken whilst he and Jan were on a weekend break in Rome. ‘I thought the shot would be OK, despite the fact that Jan had since changed her hair style and colour,’ said Alan, ‘but when the local newspaper published the picture they edited out the Colosseum backdrop and printed an out-of-focus head-and-shoulder portrait which even I didn’t recognise.’
Brian King, editor of the Manchester Evening News said that Alan’s distress was an increasing trend. ‘People just take poor quality snaps on their mobile phones these days, usually when they’re half cut, and don’t ever consider what might happen if they have a fatal accident or are murdered horribly.’ Mr King urged the public to carry a good quality and flattering photograph with them at all times. ‘I liken it to having clean underwear when you leave the house. You never know what might happen and you will save your loved ones a good deal of grief,’ adding ‘and if it is a bikini shot it makes it easier for us to sell the story to the national press.’
In response to the new appeal, film processors have agreed to produce an additional advice sticker to put on faulty photographs. ‘People are used to the little labels pointing out that they left their fingers in front of the lens or failed to use a flash in a dark room. The new sticker will simply say ‘Warning: subject of photo is blurred and wearing unfashionable clothes. Likely to be murdered in near future’.’
10 November 2011