Britain's leading tabloids have accused Chris Jefferies, the Bristol landlord of landscape architect Jo Yeates who was killed last December, of not murdering her or probably anyone else either. They claim that there is a serious problem of people who look a bit odd turning out not to have done anything
'This oddball has really got us into a lot of bother by acting like any ordinary law-abiding citizen,' said a Mirror spokesman. 'Did he not understand that slightly eccentric men who dye their hair purple and stand for election as Liberal Democrats, then behave a bit odd when a tenant gets murdered are meant to have done it? He can count himself jolly lucky the real killer turned out to be foreign.'
The tabloids are also believed to be still furious over the Appeal Court's decision that Barry George didn't kill Jill Dando. 'These innocent people are getting away with murder,' a Sun spokesman said. 'No, not the McCanns, obviously, they're being very cooperative, I mean they really are innocent. Er, can I get back to you on this?'
In some extreme cases, people have been convicted of murder only to have turned out not to have done it. One notorious example was Timothy Evans, a pathological liar who was hanged in 1950 on a false confession to the murder of his wife and daughter but was later posthumously pardoned after it emerged that his landlord had been a serial killer.
'Thanks to people like him, they did away with capital punishment and forced us to go looking for other things to write about,' complained Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre. 'The little bastard - honestly, hanging's too good for people like that. Oh, hang on a minute...'
From original by Roy Bland, with permission