Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Friday, 27 January 2006

The story of two murder victims

Murder victims Tom ap Rhys Pryce (left) and Balbir Matharu
Tom ap Rhys Pryce and Balbir Matharu died on the same day
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has accused the media of "institutional racism" over the way it reports killings.

He cited the cases of two London men, one Asian and one white, who died on the same day.

But newspapers have argued against this saying the actual number of stories printed on the two victims were similar.

Peter Horrocks, head of the BBC's television news, said he did not see a racist slant in coverage of the murders but a wider range of killings needed to be considered to find any pattern.

The BBC News website wrote seven articles on Tom ap Rhys Pryce and four on Balbir Matharu.

A survey of some of the national newspapers in the days between Mr Rhys Pryce being killed and two men being charged with his murder shows that more and longer articles were written about him than Mr Matharu.

  • Daily Mail: Rhys Pryce - five, Balbir Matharu - one.
  • Sun: Rhys Pryce - seven, Balbir Matharu - one.
  • Guardian: Rhys Pryce - five, Balbir Matharu - two
  • Independent: Rhys Pryce - three, Balbir Matharu - none.
  • Telegraph: Rhys Pryce - nine , Balbir Matharu - none.
  • Mirror: Rhys Pryce - nine, Balbir Matharu - none.
In some newspapers long analysis features and leader columns were devoted to the Rhys Pryce killing and the Sun put up a 20,000 reward for information.

But some story numbers are boosted by court reports of two men being charged with murdering Mr Rhys Pryce. No one has been charged with Mr Matharu's murder.

Profile City lawyer, white Builders' merchant, Asian
Engaged Married father-of-two
Age 31 54
From Willesden, north-west London Forest Gate, east London
Date/ time of attack Late at night on 12 January Afternoon of 12 January
Location Willesden Stratford, east London
Circumstances Stabbed by muggers yards from his home after night out with City colleagues. Run over and dragged nearly 40m (131ft) by car driven by thieves, who he had disturbed as they tried to break into his van parked outside his workplace.
Inquiry status Two men charged with murder. No arrests.

Profile: Sir Ian Blair
27 Jan 06 |  UK

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