Media portrays Humphreys as monster

2012-02-20 14:45

Blackheath driver to be sentenced

2012-02-20 14:36

The minibus taxi driver who was found guilty of murdering 10 children in Blackheath will be sentenced on Thursday. Family members felt Humphreys hasn’t shown remorse for what he did.WATCH

Cape Town - The media has played a large part in portraying a negative image of taxi driver Jacob Humphreys, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

"He has been labelled as 'jakkals' [jackal] and as a child murderer," criminologist Claire Wolff said while reading out the pre-sentencing report in mitigation of sentence.

"Most people receive information about such events from the media, thus the media has a unique ability to direct and persuade public opinion," she said.

It was the belief of Humphreys' family that most negative feelings came from further afield than his community.

Humphreys, who had his R20 000 bail reinstated last year, was found guilty of murder and attempted murder.

He was taking the children to school on August 25 2010 when he stopped at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi and 10 of the children were killed. Four children were seriously injured.

Wolff said that after conducting interviews with his family and friends, she believed he was an upstanding community member.

Humphreys was a ward leader for the Roman Catholic Church and held regular prayer meetings and bible studies.

He was a respected member of the community and in one instance, Humphreys had offered his support to a neighbour whose child had died, and in another he supported the family of a young girl who was raped.

"I found that he has made a substantial contribution to society and this plays an important role in his life," Wolff said.
Read more on:    jacob humphreys  |  cape town  |  media  |  schoolbus tragedy

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