Part of journalism is that sometimes you have to report on stories that are uncomfortably harrowing. It is even worse when you know the victim involved…
I was on my way to a meeting in Piccadilly last Friday when, as I usually do, I picked up a copy of that day’s Manchester Evening News. I skimmed the front page reading the horrifying news that my friend Rachel Jardine, a masters student from the University of Manchester, had fallen 80ft from Bloom Street car park in Manchester.
To make matters worse, while she lay dying Ben Heney robbed her of her mobile. It is thought that Rachel was making a last phone call to her mother. She died of her injuries later that day in Manchester Royal Infirmary.
Originally from Bristol, 22 year old Rachel came to Manchester to study philosophy. Just an hour and a half before she died she posted this poignant quote on her Twitter page:
‘Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.’ – Jean-Paul Sartre
Heney managed to sell the mobile phone for £20 to fund his drug habit. Greater Manchester Police have called this crime “unforgivable”. The fact that anybody could rob a dying woman, instead of trying to help her, is terrible but it is even more hurtful due to the fact that I knew Rachel personally.
I graduated from university last year but knew Rachel due to our involvement in the student radio station Fuse FM. She was enthusiastic, dedicated, and most of all, such a lovely warm person who I know will be missed by all at the station.
In just 12 weeks time Ben Heney will be out walking the streets of Manchester again, free from jail. While the crime itself was petty, is the lack of morals that motivated the robbery something that should have surely justified a longer sentence?
God bless you Rachel x