Sometimes, the interesting thing about a news article is what it doesn’t say, rather than what it does. This is very much the case with this strange little piece in local Cumbrian newspaper the Westmorland Gazette.
On the face of it, it’s a good solid piece of reporting about a concerned citizen finding delinquent behaviour amongst teenagers at a local beauty spot. But then you start to read between the lines, and some serious questions pop up.
First, look at the time difference between when the guy arrived and when he says he left. It’s over six hours. There is almost nothing to do or see at Kendal Castle – it’s a photogenic ruin on the top of a hill but there are no facilities. So, er, what exactly was he doing up there for such a long time, at night?
Second, he mentions some very specific illegal drugs. My immediate reaction was to ask how he knew what they were. The old tv standby of sticking a finger in the substance and licking it is complete nonsense, and even an expert needs some pretty impressive kit to identify individual drugs. And I can’t imagine anyone going out for an evening stroll with a pocket-full of test tubes and a Basic Chemistry set.
Lastly, if he was so concerned about the health of the young people and/or their illegal behaviour, it seems odd that he didn’t call either an ambulance, or the local police. Surely that would be the normal reaction to a young girl collapsing in a remote place after taking drugs.
I’m absolutely not suggesting here that Mr Dixon was doing anything untoward. But the article, as a piece of reporting, does throw up some fascinating questions. And I’m sure crime writers could have a field day coming up with some answers of their own!