Lawrence Suspects' Interview: `Key indicators of violence' obvious
Friday 09 April 1999
First off was the very obvious point that they had been part of a gang engaged in anti-social behaviour from a young age - almost all violent teenagers were anti-social children. As Gary Dobson put it: "We were a group of little bastards. Rascals, lovable rogues. I never said we were angels."
But the most striking evidence was their repeated belief that they were the victims, not perpetrators of violence. A paranoid belief that their violence is in self-defence is an absolutely classic indication of the cast of mind found in offensively violent people.
When he was asked why he had spat in the face of a bystander and lashed out at others, Neil Acourt replied: "It was in self defence. Someone gobs in your face, what do you do? I'm a natural defender, I fight fire with fire."
His brother James was asked repeatedly why he carried knives. Initially he replied: "I don't know." Eventually he offered the following reply: "Protection, I suppose, is the only answer."
This belief system is typical of violent men. The most common comment preceding a violent city-centre incident is "what are you looking at?". In many cases the person to whom this is addressed is "looking" at nothing, but that is not how the assailant sees it. His paranoid fantasy is that the victim poses a threat, is humiliating or being critical.
Experiments on violent psychopaths show that they are much more likely to attribute malign intentions when confronted by mildly annoying situations than non-psychopaths - in other words, they are more paranoid. That this paranoia starts in early life has been proven by similar experiments on boys. Young males were asked questions about motives in a number of seemingly neutral situations, such as: "Another boy's ball bounces towards you and hits you in the face - did he mean to hurt you?" Aggressive boys were much more likely to assign malign intentions and to say they would react to such situations with aggression.
It was clear that these five men formed a sub-culture of violence, using knives and racism, to bring power and excitement to their otherwise insignificant selves. But most dangerous of all, they genuinely believe they are the victims when launching their assaults. Maybe they once were victims in their schools or childhood homes, but in believing that their victims are a threat which must be met with even greater violence, they are murderously deluded.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Kelly Osbourne leaves Fashion Police after Zendaya dreadlocks racism row
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...