Reactions to a Murder

Blog Category: Current Affairs, London

When someone is murdered in London, who notices? Aside from the obvious – witnesses, the local community, the police – the answer depends on the type of case and the victim.

Carlos Roberto Oliveria was stabbed to death near Burnt Oak tube station in the early hours of Saturday, July 16.

The first media report came from the Hendon Times just over three hours later at 7am, as Burnt Oak station was closed while police investigated.

More coverage came via the BBC and Sky following a limited press release by the Met Police that afternoon. Few details were given beyond the fact a man aged around 30 had been stabbed in Watling Avenue at around 4am.

The next day another press release provided the victim’s age (27) and the cause of death (stab wound to the chest) and the Hendon Times reported that the location was a suspected brothel.

Other than that the case, like many others, did not receive a great deal of attention, starved of both information and what journalists might call an ‘angle.’

The absence of any reaction from officialdom bothered the author of the Barnet Eye blog, who has criticised the ‘disinterested silence’ of Hendon MP Matthew Offord.

As I peruse the twitter feeds – nothing from our MP. Nothing from the Leader of the Council on any Hendon Times story. Is it just because it’s Burnt Oak? Don’t people from Burnt Oak matter? If it was a wealthy Totteridge resident, I wonder what the response would be. If it was a millionaire?

Sometimes the Human race makes me sick. We only care about those we deem important. God bless the victim and his family. I will remember them in my prayers.

Then it emerged another man had been stabbed in Burnt Oak in an apparently unconnected attack, followed by rumours of a third in nearby Edgware. This provided a shocking jolt even to those who already believed the area to be troubled, as a look at the responses on Twitter makes clear.

The victim was finally identified by police on Monday evening as a Brazilian national from Clapham, Carlos Roberto Oliveria (although the usual spelling is Oliveira). Detectives are appealing for witnesses and it is to be hoped they will bring those responsible to justice, but it is a sad fact of life that Mr Oliveria will be quickly forgotten, just another murder victim in London.

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