Thursday, 25 December 2008

The Murder of Shirley Cotton-Betteridge

In the early hours of 29 August 2001, Shirley Cotton-Betteridge was murdered in Bristol.

Shirley was working as the assistant-manager of the Figurehead and Firkin in Bristol city centre and she asked an Asian half-caste called Paul McMilan to stay behind to help lock up. What she didn't know was that he was a 'high-risk' sex offender.

McMilan had been convicted of indecent assault and causing grievous bodily harm in 1999, but was conditionally released from a young offenders institute less than a year later. At which point, he attacked another woman. Nevertheless, there he was serving behind the bar with Shirley.

The fact that he had missed several appointments with his probation officer had not been noted.

So, what does a convicted sex-offender do in such opportune circumstances? Well, one or two of them will wait until the object of their pervert desire turns her back and then they will stab her more than 40 times.

Which is exactly what happened to Shirley.

Prosecuting Counsel, Don Tait, said:

"It was clear from the outset that the crime was committed by a heavily disturbed individual who had a previous conviction for a serious offence in 1999".
Medical reports quoted at the trial concluded that McMilan had an 'abnormal profile' and a 'schizoid personality disorder' and there was a 'serious risk of McMilan re-offending.'

After the hearing Graham Morgan, Shirley's stepfather, said:

"I can't understand a system where they don't realise that he is a danger before he's released to society. They just go ahead and release him because he's done his tariff, but there must be some sort of law where, if they realise he's dangerous, they can send him somewhere afterwards. He just shouldn't have been released...

To identify him as a person being highly dangerous and then saying we will put you on probation and the sexual offenders' register, they gave him the licence to do it. The system failed Shirley, I think unless they change the system this is going to happen again. There is more than one person like Paul McMilan".
McMilan pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

This plea was accepted.

Manslaughter. That's a kind of 'oops I've just killed someone but didn't really mean it' kind of murder, isn't it?

Anyone out there ever heard of the phrase, getting away with murder? Do you really think that, during the last few moments of an innocent life, it would make the dying feel better, if you were to say, 'it's OK, he's a nutcase, he's got nothing against you personally, he just can't help himself?'

I'm going to tell you a secret. Psychopaths, nutcases, weirdos and all of those godforsaken slimeballs who get to hear the phrase 'whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed' rather more often than the rest of us, well, they're incapable of restraining themselves, right? Otherwise they wouldn't be treated any differently to the rest of us, would they?

Here is what THEY never told you.

Psychopaths don't attack big blokes. Not usually. Once in a while, maybe, if they've got a Samurai sword or a Glock handy, but, these poor, troubled souls who lose it for a second and, in the blink of an eye, blot out some really sweet and lovely person like Shirley, they amost never attack anyone that they think they might not be able to handle. The smooth and calculating psychopath will invariably select a target he can hit, folks. Even if he's a poor, dim loonie.

McMilan committed murder. You know it, I know it, the psychiatrists know it. The cops, the politicians and the McMilans know it too. When another innocent Brit is ticked off the list, it's a lot more work for the lawyers, it's a lot more work for the shrinks and a tad more hell on earth for the rest of us.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the point. If you're forever looking over your shoulder for Terminators, you're a lot less likely to be checking up on the turds at the top of the tree who set them onto you in the first place.

Shirley is pictured below alongside her killer.

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