body of a young man found in the River Irwell in Salford was today
confirmed to be that of the missing Nathan Tomlinson.
went missing on the same day as
Until yesterday, his family and friends had no idea of his whereabouts
or what may have happened to him and desperately reached out to the
public to help with police enquiries by releasing statements, appealing
at football games, addressing the local media and putting posters up all
over Manchester and Salford.
Nathan was just 21, a trainee sports science teenager from Stockport who
went missing whilst trying to find his way home from a work Christmas
'do'. CCTV images on the MEN website show him walking through the snow
towards Salford Crescent Station but close to the University, he
disappeared. His family were traumatised and worried, telling police
that this was completely out of character for Nathan, hence sparking a
large-scale search for clues.
It seemed all avenues had been exhausted, but after drenching the river
close to where Nathan was last seen, his body was recovered.
Why have I chosen to blog about this' A number of reasons:
I study in Salford. I live in Manchester. I am a Journalism Student. I
read the Manchester Evening News religously, especially the crime
The CCTV images showing Nathan crossing a university carpark appear to
be from a camera attached to the building I spend half my life in. I see
the posters every day, several times a day.
Something else though, is that the story of this missing person ran
parallel to that of Joanna Yeates. Whilst the Attorney General was
warning journalists and newsgroups about reporting too much information
and revealing too many details about Joanna's murder enquiry and
sparking debate over the press' loss of respect for the Contempt of
Court Act, Nathan's disappearance went close to unnoticed. Apart from a
mention in the Daily Mail, the only paper to report and follow the story
was the MEN. The nationals had other things on their mind.
People go missing all the time, but women, especially young women of
sound mind and, dare I say it, a photogenic face, count for the majority
of those that get any kind of mass media coverage.
The obvious lack of press attention didn't go unnoticed. Police
suggested that the hunt may have been overshadowed by the murder of Jo
Yeates in Bristol. The MEN quoted DCI Giles as saying: 'Unfortunately,
due to the time of year and other events in the news, Nathan's
disappearance may not have attracted the attention we were expecting it
But why' Was it north (Salford) versus south (Bristol)' Well off
(I noticed that almost every report on the Yeates case mentioned the
price of property)versus not so well off (Brinnington is regarded as one
of the poorer, rougher areas of Stockport)' Pretty (blonde, cheery)
versus not so pretty(pictured with a bottle of lager ' suggestive)'
There will always be those questions, as there was at the time when
went missing. We can only guess the answers.
It would be impossible and unreasonable to expect that all missing
people should even get a mention. Over 200,000 are reported to police
every year. But these are categorised, and Nathan's disapperance and
lack of contact with his family was high risk and suspicious from start
For the cases that fail to attract the attention they deserve, there are
suggested defences. Firstly, not all families want media coverage ' but
Nathan's took it upon themselves to appeal for help, using every
oppurtunity to ask for any information in connection with his
disappearance. The Missing People charity have no control over what the
press choose to publish or put aside. Also, the majority of missing
people return or are found. It seems Nathan jut slipped through the net.
Ironically, a broadsheet news report titled 'The week four people
vanished ' and only one made the news,' was accompanied by photographs
of three of the four. Only Nathan was missing.
No disrespect whatsoever to the family and friends of Joanna Yeates, but
I can't help but feel desperately sorry and upset for Nathan's, who
tried so hard to get whatever attention they could. I also can't help
feeling disheartened by the fact that the media tends to always pull at
heartstrings by appealing on behalf of ' there is no denying it ' the
wealthy, pretty, white girl.