The Sun newspaper have today published a report giving a detailed account of the attack in which Conor Spraggs lost his life.

In an ‘exclusive report’ by Corey Charlton, British tourist Emma Whitton describes how she and her friend Andrew Tamplin witnessed the entire attack.

Emma says she gave a witness statement to the police and also participated in a line-up identification after the arrest of the 4 men suspected in the attack.

The Sun report seems to suggest that Emma and Andrew were with Conor before the fight started. It has been widely reported that there was an argument prior to the fight, but Emma’s account as reported by the Sun gives no indication of what the argument was about, or how it developed from argument to physical. She says “We didn’t see who started the fight but saw Conor being hit and falling. As he was falling I saw him being violently kicked in the ribs and was doubled up”.

It is stated that her friend Andrew was ‘dodging punches from everyone’, though it is not 100% clear whether he had joined the fight in an attempt to help Conor, or was part of the fight. Emma says “At this time my friend Andrew was dodging punches from everyone. The girls stood there shouting.”

It is suggested, but not specifically stated, that there was more than one person attacking Conor. Emma’s testimony states that Conor was thrown against a wall and his head struck the concrete ledge. It was when “the one that hit him” went to attack him again that she stood and told them to stop as he was unconscious. Emma told the Sun “As he fell he was grabbed and thrown into the wall, hitting his head on a concrete ledge as he landed. This was right next to where I was sat on the concrete bench. The boy who hit him… went for him again. I stood up and said ‘you had better go, he is unconscious’.”

She said that same man then said to her “‘Look at my nose look what he’s done to it’. His nose was bleeding. I said ‘just go’ and then they all walked off.”

After that, Emma and Andrew tried to help Conor, who she said was lying motionless on the ground.

The report goes on to describe how they tried to comfort Conor and with the help of a Spanish passer by they called the Police. The Police arrived very quickly, initially thinking Conor was very drunk, but they then called the paramedics, who worked to resuscitate Conor for over an hour before finally pronouncing him dead at the scene.

Editorial Comment:

The outcome of the attack was death, and in that there is no degree of magnitude that makes any difference how it came about. But in so far as how the attack is judged, its position on the scale of just how appalling a crime was committed, many people will look to the two factors of how unfairly balanced the fight was, i.e how many of them versus one of Conor, and how merciless the attack, in terms of how long it continued after Conor was no longer in a position to defend himself.

There is plenty in Emma Watson’s testimony to suggest the upper end of the appalling scale, a gang attack that had no mercy, but nothing that specifically says it. I feel sure that a Sun journalist would have been looking for these absolute confirmations too. The omission of a specific statement that Conor was being assaulted by multiple attackers is unlikely to have been an unintended lack of clarity – it is the primary aspect of the case a journalist would be seeking to confirm. But it isn’t there.

Similarly Emma’s testimony says that when she said ‘you had better go, he is unconscious’, the boy who hit him turned to her and said about his nose. Note, ‘the boy’, not one of the boys, or the one who started it or any other qualifier, just ‘the boy’. Also there is no suggestion of any further assault after she said ‘he is unconscious’.

I am not trying to defend the lads, and now we see the photos of them in court ‘boys’ does seem a better description. There is plenty in the testimony of our own local resident eye witness (link below) that shows them to be just awful human beings, lads or boys.

But facts are facts, and thankfully I am not burdened by the British tabloid need to maximise the sensationalist potential of every story. Reading this story with the sceptical mind of one journalist considering the objectives of another, my best guess is that The Sun didn’t get quite the story they were hoping for when they agreed exclusivity terms. Either that or the reporter simply isn’t very good.

We will not know for sure which it is until the case goes to court. It is also very telling that of the four men arrested for the assault, only one has been remanded in custody.

It is an awful tragedy. A young life lost. But that does not mean we can ignore new facts that may temper the magnitude of the crime as they are presented. It is a shame we have had to wait so long for Emma Watson’s ‘exclusive’ interview with the Sun. We would have been happy to publish that information the same day without any desire or need to tag our story as exclusive. We can only speculate what motivation would have been behind her taking so long to grant one newspaper exclusivity, and feel sure you will have your own ideas.

Read the full Sun article here, and our own earlier reports below.

“F**k him, he deserved it, he had it coming” Lads’ Boast After Conor Killing

San Antonio Paseo Fatality Named as Conor Lee