Barry George and Sean Hodgson – A Connection

Barry George was convicted and later freed over the murder of TV personality Jill Dando. Sean Hogdson was free today for the murder of Teresa De Simone in 1979.

There are obvious similarities – both single men of low intelligence and not really connected with the world, convicted on faulty forensic evidence.

But there is a more subtle link. The case against Barry George was strengthened by the fact that a number of photographs of Jill Dando were found in his home. It turns out that Barry George had loads of old newspapers in his home. The police had searched through them, and, not surprisingly, found a number of pictures of a well-known and popular TV personality. There was no evidence presented that Barry George has marked these pictures, just that he had them in his possession. The case against Sean Hodgson was based around his confession, on a number of occasions, to the crime. This is clear-cut, until you learn that he was a pathological liar, who had confessed to a number of other murders, which he could not have committed.

The link is the putting the evidence in context. It is weighing the argument against the counter-arguments, the significant facts. It happens not just in the judicial system, but in religion, in politics and in our work and in our personal life. If we are not always on our guard against putting the evidence in context, then wrong decisions will be made just as easily as the juries made the wrong decisions in these two cases.


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