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Crime report

Family convicted for bully deaths


(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6178909.stm)

Maureen Cochrane, 45, and her 54-year-old husband, Alex, were killed on 20 January. Lucy Cochrane, their daughter
and a special needs pupil at Newall Green High School, was severely injured. She was 16 at the time of the attack.
The Connors were prosecuted for this. The jury heard the Connors had carried out an 18-month campaign of
harassment on the Cochranes. Natalie Connor, 18, and her parents Michael and Jane, both 40, eventually plotted to
pour petrol through the letterbox of Lucy Cochranes house in Manchester. The animosity stemmed from Natalie and
Lucy, who had met at Newall Green School in Wythenshawe, and had fallen out with each other. The court was told
Natalie Connor harboured an obsessive hatred for Lucy and made up entirely false allegations that Lucy was
bullying her.
Natalie's mother Jane Connor was a ready ally, who plied her ex-husband with drink while inciting him to sort out
the problem.
With money from his ex-wife, Michael Connor bought 3 of petrol. Shortly after midnight on 12 January he poured it
through the letterbox of the Cochranes Wythenshawe home and lit a match, while Jane kept watching. The hallway of
the terrace in Warmley Road was engulfed in flames and reached temperatures of 1,000 degrees centigrade in minutes.
By the time fire crews arrived Mrs Cochrane was dead and although her husband was rescued, he later died in hospital.
Post-mortem examinations revealed the pair died from burns and smoke inhalation. The deaths of Maureen and Alex
Cochrane were described in court as a tragedy of epic proportions motivated by such a trivial and nonsensical
cause.
Lucy survived the arson attack despite suffering severe burns. She now lives with an uncle in London, the court heard.
In a Victim Impact Statement, her grandfather Thomas Williams criticised police for not taking action against the
Connors after an incident just five days before the fatal attack. Police were called after liquid, believed to be petrol,
was discovered on his daughters front door - but no officer attended. Instead, the family was promised CCTV cameras
and told that police would seek evidence against the Connors. Mr Williams said the victims would still be alive but for
the neglect and dereliction of duty by the police officer involved.
An investigation is under way into the incident by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Speaking
outside the court after the hearing, Mr Williams branded the Connors evil scum.
Michael Connor, of Hall Street, Offerton, near Stockport, claimed he did not intend to kill the victims and denied two
counts of murder, the attempted murder of Lucy and grievous bodily harm with intent. Jane Connor, of Wellfield
Road, Brooklands, also denied two counts of murder, two counts of manslaughter, attempted murder, grievous bodily
harm with intent and arson. Natalie Connor, of the same address, denied two counts of murder, two counts of
manslaughter, attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and arson. Jane Connor's mother, Margaret Robinson, 66,
admitted a single charge of perverting the course of justice.
Connor and his wife were both convicted of murder at Manchester Crown Court. Michael and Jane Connor were both
cleared of the attempted murder of Lucy Cochrane. Their daughter was cleared of murder, but was also convicted of
grievous bodily harm and arson.

READING COMPREHENSION

1. Choose one of the questions. ONLY ONE ANSWER is correct.

1. Natalie Connor and Lucy Cochrane

a. were playground friends.


b. have known each other for ages.
c. attended the same school.
d. were classmates.

2. Jane Connor:

a. took the law in her hands to avenge her daughter.


b. told her daughter her allegations that Lucy was bulling her were entirely false.
c. didnt want her daughter to set the Cochranes house on fire.
d. never supported her daughter obsessive hatred for Lucy

3. The Connors:

a. were happily married.


b. divorced after the arson attack.
c. claimed they wanted to kill the Cochranes.
d. set the house alight to punish Lucy.

4. By the time fire crews arrived:

a. Mrs and Mr Cochrane were dead.


b. Mrs Cochrane and Mr Cochrane were badly injured but still alive.
c. The Cochranes had managed to leave the house and were calling the police.
d. Lucy and her father were severely injured but still alive.

5. In a Victim Impact Statement, Lucys grandfather:

a. criticised the judge for acquitting the Connors.


b. criticised the fire brigade for arriving too late.
c. criticised the police for not taking action against the Connors after the first arson attack.
d. criticised the police for setting installing CCTV cameras and watching the house.

6. Mrs Connor:

a. was sentenced for grievous bodily harm with intent.


b. was cleared of murder.
c. was convicted of murder.
d. was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

2. True or false?

(1) ____ Mrs Cochrane and her husband died in hospital.


(2) ____ The Connors were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court
(3) ____ A teenage bully has been convicted of manslaughter after the parents of a girl she taunted in the
playground were killed in an arson attack.
(4) ____ Natalie Connor poured petrol through the letterbox of Lucy Cochrane and her father set the home
alight.
(5) ____ Jane Connor said her divorced husband killed Lucy Cochrane.
(6) ____ Natalie Connor and Lucy Cochrane were close friends.
(7) ____ Natalie Connor was bullying Lucy Cochrane.
(8) ____ Lucy survived the arson attack.
(9) ____ The defendant is now living with her grandfather.
(10) ____ Lucy is planning to move to London and join her uncle there.
(11) ____ The first attempt at setting alight the Cochranes house failed.
(12) ____ The Connors had already set the Cochranes house on fire.
(13) ____ After the attempted arson attack, the Cochranes brought the Connors to court.
(14) ____ After the first attempt at setting their house on fire, the Cochranes bought CCTV cameras.
(15) ____ After the first arson attack, a police officer attended the Cochranes house.
(16) ____ Michael Connor claimed he did not intend to kill the victims.
(17) ____ Michael Connor pleaded guilty for the attempted murder of Lucy and grievous bodily harm with
intent.
(18) ____ Jane Connors mother, Margaret Robinson, 66, was charged with perjury.
(19) ____ Jane Connors mother was charged with perverting the course of justice.
(20) ____ Jane Connors mother was charged with tampering with evidence.

3. Match the words on the left with their synonyms on the right

1 were prosecuted for a. pleaded guilty to one single charge


2 allegation b. breach of duty
3 seek evidence c. deliberately
4 neglect and dereliction of duty d. were sentenced
5 is under way e. investigate
6 denied murder f. was acquitted of/was decided not guilty of
7 with intent g. changing the course of justice
8 admitted a single charge h. is taking place
9 perverting the course of justice i. didnt admit to the murder
10 were convicted of j. stood trial for
11 was cleared of k. charge/statement/accusation