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Paper Monitor

10:29 UK time, Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's a fair cop. Paper Monitor is guilty of enjoying the morning's crime coverage rather too much.

The defence offers its plea in mitigation.

Exhibit A: according to the Guardian, a young, smartly-dressed couple arrived at the Michelin-starred L'Autre Pied in London last week, ordered a meal worth £572.74 - including a £285 bottle of champagne - told waiting staff they were nipping out for a quick smoke, then promptly legged it, leaving "a plum tart and millefeuille uneaten at the table".

"What may make the case more intriguing," the story continues, "is that the name in which the pair booked the table, Lupin, echoes that of the fictional Arsene Lupin - a stylish Gallic gentleman thief whose adversaries, in a series of novels by Maurice LeBlanc, are invariably portrayed as rather worse villains than him."

Exhibit B: Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Parry is invited to nose around HMP Full Sutton, a maximum-security prison home to "farmhouse killer Jeremy Bamber, hammer-wielding psycho Michael Stone, serial killer Dennis Nilsen, the infamous 21/7 bomb plotters and Gay Slayer Colin Ireland".

The hapless hack quickly finds he is popular:

"Oi, journo, come 'ere. I'm innocent, you should publicise my case."

Within seconds I'm surrounded by murderers, rapists and bank robbers - all making similar claims.

"Everyone's innocent in here," laughs my prison escort.

Exibit C: The Daily Telegraph carries a despatch - sadly, not online - from Reading Crown Court with the headline "Abba tribute night ended in a brawl".

Contained therein is that winning combination of the lurid and the everyday that all too rarely graduates from the local to the national press. Its introductory paragraphs run:

A judge faced shouts of abuse after jailing a mother, father and two sons over a golden wedding party that ended in a brawl.

The case involved fights between the Harris family, two brothers and policewomen having a hen party at a hotel's Abba tribute night. Four members of the family admitted brawling.

The defence rests its case.

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