Murder is a sadly all too common crime in modern Britain, as it has been throughout history since Cain slew Abel. Most murders are committed for a reason, even apparently senseless murders. There are murders for financial gain; everybody can understand these. Murders may be committed to win prestige or some other accolade. Most of the “great men” of history have blood on their hands. Napoleon and Churchill are revered in France and Britain respectively, notwithstanding their mass slaughter of the finest flower of French and British manhood in senseless campaigns and avoidable wars. Both Hitler and Stalin were “great men” in some sense; future historians may elevate Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to the same sort of infamy when they reassess Western policy towards the Middle East.
Then there are sex killers, some of whom become multiple (serial) killers. One of the most infamous such cases is that of the Moors Murderers - Hindley and Brady. Ordinary people shook their heads in disbelief as much as in horror and revulsion when their crimes were revealed to the world, for who could understand the torture and murder of young children? Actually, such terrible deeds are not that difficult to understand. Everybody accepts that some people, commonly referred to as sadists, gain sexual and/or other gratification from making and seeing innocent people suffer, so why not children?
Then there are those who kill for kicks. These people are not necessarily sadists.
Then there are those who kill out of compulsion. People can become addicted to drugs, to drink, to tobacco, to gambling, even to shopping. So why not to murder?
Then there are those who kill out of ideology. Such people are usually branded terrorists. When they murder innocent people, then terrorists they are, notwistanding the fact that many of them have genuine grievances. But into what category do the Satpal Rams of this world fall?
In May of this year a bizarre story appeared in my local paper. It was headed Tragedy as burp leads to killing. * It began:
“A BIRTHDAY dinner ended in tragedy when a relative criticised by his brother-in-law for burping at the dinner table stabbed him to death, the Old Bailey heard last week.”
The victim, Darren Ives, was allegedly stabbed to death by Paul Webb. Apparently Webb had been eating curry. The argument escalated, and he stabbed his critic eight times in the chest and stomach with an eight inch kitchen knife when they met in the street later.
The murder of Clarke Pearce by Satpal Ram falls into the same category. Ram and his entourage can whine until the cows come home about the supposed injustice of his case, how he is a “political prisoner”, etc, and ad nauseum, but at the end of the day he remains a drunken thug who stabbed a stranger to death in a frenzied knife attack because he objected to something the other man had said about the background music being played in the restaurant.
If ever there were a truly senseless murder, then this has to be it.
August 5, 2001
* Published in NEWS SHOPPER Beckenham & Penge, May 2, 2001, page 3.