REGULAR readers will know that I’m no apologist for abusive or cruel parents.
But when I heard the investigating officer in the Shannon Matthews kidnap case describe her mother, Karen Matthews, as “pure evil”, it did give me pause for thought. Clearly this pathetic woman is unfit to look after a dog, let alone a child, and Shannon will surely be better off away from her influence. Matthews and her disgusting accomplice, Michael Donovan, deserve every minute of the jail sentences they will undoubtedly be given.
But “pure evil”? A gift to newspaper sub-editors, I concede.
That evil exists in some people, I have no doubt. But isn’t there a risk that by describing someone like Karen Matthews – a pathetic, stupid, cruel, greedy individual – as “pure evil”, we run the risk of devaluing the term? For if Matthews is evil, how do we then describe the sadistic child murderers who brought Baby P’s life to an end?