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30 June 2008updated 27 Sep 2015 5:20am

Porn’s to blame…

Every time a case like Neil Entwistle’s is reported, it gives fuel to those in favour of blanket and

By Tania Glyde

When Neil Entwistle, 29, was found guilty last week of killing his wife and baby daughter in the wealthy Massachusetts town of Hopkinton it was the first murder there in 28 years.

Reading about Hopkinton, you can almost smell the cookies baking, and feel the velvety murmur of SUVs.

Then, one day in early 2006, Entwistle shot 27 year old Rachel and baby Lilian Rose in their colonial-style home and fled to back to England, where he embarked on a bizarre journey around the UK before asking his in-laws, in writing, to arrange the funeral, which he did not attend.

As the trial unfolded, we discovered that in fact that things were not so perfect about Worksop-born Entwistle, and that, unbeknownst to anyone, there was no job and the lovely house and car were rented rather than owned, and he had a stack of debts.

As the prosecution dug deeper, they found that Entwistle’s business affairs, such as they were, consisted of internet scams, get-rich-quicks, and, uh oh – pornography. And what’s more, in the days and weeks leading up to the murder, he had been in email contact with various escorts, and had joined the swinging site Adult FriendFinder.

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Stir into this volatile mix the fact that he had also been researching various methods of killing, and you can predict the hysterical conflation that will be cooking in the minds of those who wish to police the minds – and computers – of others.

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Earlier this year, after a concerted campaign by Liz Longhurst, whose daughter Jane was murdered in 2003 by a man with a strangulation fetish and an obsession with imagery of necrophilia and murder, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill was amended to include several clauses about the possession of what is known as ‘extreme pornography’.

The arguments against this measure have been well-rehearsed in the media, and thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the days when an anti-pornography campaigner only had to make their case by standing up and shrieking “It’s Latin for writing about prostitutes!” But every time a case like Entwistle’s is reported, it gives fuel to those in favour of blanket and intrusive censorship.

In the UK, sex education is a disaster. Teen pregnancies and poor parenting are time bombs that are going off, slowly, surely, and inexorably. Meanwhile, however, the state has become a Peeping Tom, getting all worked up over dirty pictures while society disintegrates outside. Personally, I find a lot of mainstream pornography pretty tacky and boring; there are only so many shaved, basted and inflated
size-eights you can take (although many, as I know well, disagree).

But, while people, particularly men, have eyes, then they will continue to create and consume it. And it will not turn them into murderers.