Monday, 8 March 2010

The heartless killer Peter Chapman gets 35 years.... Not a second too long

The story of Ashleigh Hall, the 17 year old girl murdered by Peter Chapman tore at my heartstrings as I read it.

A 33 year old sex offender who had broken the terms of his of his Sex Offenders’ Register Order by failing to notify his change of address, snared the vulnerable teenager by posting a picture of a handsome, bare-chested teenage boy on his Facebook page.

Poor Ashleigh was interested in boys, but they were not usually interested in her, and her social life revolved around her cell phone and the social networking sites she frequented on her computer. He pretended that he was the boy in the picture, chatted with her by text message and MSN Messenger, and arranged to meet her. He was aware that he looked nothing like the teenager he pretended to be, so he invented his “dad”, and arranged for him to collect her from her home.

Chapman, pretending to be “Pete’s dad”, picked her up near her house and drove her to a dark and secluded lay-by where he raped and killed her and then disposed of her body. Amazingly he returned to the scene of the crime the next day and was stopped by a routine patrol when his car activated the police vehicle’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition system. He had been put into the system as a convicted sex offender not complying with the terms of the Sex Offenders Register concerning his address.

He has been jailed for 35 years.

The whole story is, of course, sad, but what seems so overwhelmingly awful was that it was so easy for him. There are vulnerable teenagers, of both sexes, all over the country who rely on the social networking sites to make friends, many of them much younger than Ashleigh. On these sites, which usually have a picture member along with biographical details, there is no way to verify if the picture and the person are one and the same.

It is clearly not beyond the wit of a sexual predator to take a picture from the net, invent some biographical details and pretend to be someone that they are not. The next step is to look for a girl likely to be flattered by the attentions of the Adonis pictured... and take it from there.

The callousness and cruelty with which these perverts work is nauseating. In this case Ashleigh was 17, and as such an adult, but surely there are, at this moment, dirty old men claiming to be handsome 16 year old boys talking to girls of 13 and 14, and heaven forbid younger.

There have always been weirdos who preyed on young girls, but now kids are in their rooms playing on their computers and text messaging and parents have no idea what they are doing, and no way of finding out.

If we are going to update sex education, we must find a way of educating kids about the dangers of online friendship, without unduly frightening them, or putting them off the advantages of meeting people online, from all over the world, and the opportunities this brings.

I hope that Peter Chapman will stay in prison for every day of these 35 years and that, when he is 68, great thought will be given to whether or not he is suitable for release.

RIP Ashleigh.

Pictured: Ashleigh Hall and, at the bottom of the page, her heartless killer Peter Chapman


  1. The poor child. I can't imagine the anguish her parents are suffering.

  2. Carter. Thanks for dropping in....

    I think none of us can really imagine it. It must be the very very worst sort of anguish that will never go away...not after 35 years, never....and not just for her parents but grandparents and family and friends.

    People's lives ruined.

    I hope the next time we see you Carter it will be on a happier post.....

    , .

  3. Yes it is another sad story, the presses seem full of them nowadays..depressing frankly. What a wretched species humanity is.

  4. Oh Dean, I didn't mean to depress you. Only some are wretched.... many are good and kind and clever and brave and inspiring.

    Cheer up matey.... :¬)

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  6. Life does seem to be full of scum.

    So much hate, just look at the reaction to the Venables situation. Where on earth is the societal belief in compassion, fairness, rehabilitation and justice?

    Hate, vengence, eye for an eye...its all such a damning indictment of the human race frankly.

  7. Dean... there is bad... there has always been... but there is good too.

    I think that if we want Venebles to get a fair trial for whatever crime he has now allegedly committed we have to allow him to remain anonymous. The alternative is that the English courts won't be able to find an unbiased jury.

    I'm not in agreement with the government keeping things from us, but there are exceptions, and I think that this was one of them.

  8. Actually, I think it's a seriously complex matter Dean.....

    Could you email me privately?

  9. Sure can Tris, all you need to do is provide me with an email address and we are off.

    And yes, the Venables issue is extremely complex. I've since found this out on my patch, someone has rather taken offence to my latest article on Jon Venables...

  10. It's on my profile Dean