A case of ketchup

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By TOM PHILLIPS

Hit­man uses ketchup in fake mur­der in a bizarre case of love tri­an­gle. N all his years in Brazil­ian law en­force­ment, po­lice chief Mar­coni Almino de Lima had never faced a case like this: a sor­did tale of love, jeal­ousy, a con­tract killer and kitchen condi­ments.

It all be­gan in June when Maria Nilza Si­moes, who lives in the small town of Pin­dobacu, about 400km from Sal­vador in the north­east­ern state of Bahia, al­legedly sought out a lo­cal gun for hire to do away with her hus­band’s lover.

Car­los Roberto de Je­sus, a job­less ex­con, ac­cepted the mis­sion. For around £350 (RM1,730) he agreed to kill Ere­nildes Aguiar Araujo, known sim­ply as Lupita.

Ac­cord­ing to one ver­sion, Lupita had been hav­ing an af­fair with Si­moes’ part­ner and Si­moes wanted her ri­val out of the way. The day of the mur­der was to be June 24.

All was go­ing to plan un­til the novice hit­man lo­cated his tar­get. The hit turned out to be a child­hood friend. Un­able to go through with it, de Je­sus grap­pled for a way out, even­tu­ally de­vis­ing what he ap­par­ently thought was an in­ge­nious so­lu­tion: tomato ketchup.

Armed with two bot­tles of the sauce, he opened up to his friend, led her into the for­est and staged a mock­ex­e­cu­tion with a mouth gag and a ma­chete. Lupita was doused in tomato ketchup and a photo was taken as proof of death.

“I tore my own top, I stuck the knife in my side,” she told a lo­cal news­pa­per. “He tied me up and threw the ketchup. He took a photo and de­liv­ered it to her.”

The pho­to­graph – splashed over the front pages of Brazil’s tabloids – shows Lupita’s head tilted back­wards, her body smoth­ered with dis­tinctly un­re­al­is­tic­look­ing “blood” and a long knife, jammed com­i­cally un­der her armpit.

More com­edy than CSI Mi­ami, the photo nev­er­the­less worked. Si­moes is said to have been taken in by the im­age, shown to her on a mo­bile phone. The fee was paid.

Days later, Si­moes was walk­ing in the lo­cal mar­ket when she saw her con­tract killer canoodling with Lupita.

Fu­ri­ous, she marched into the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion and re­ported him for theft. Her de­ci­sion trig­gered the strangest in­ves­ti­ga­tion po­lice chief Almino de Lima is ever likely to face.

“In eight years’ ser­vice, I have never heard of any­thing like it – and we hear a lot of sto­ries,” the po­lice chief told the lo­cal news­pa­per.

All three pro­tag­o­nists are now fac­ing charges – Si­moes for is­su­ing death threats, Lupita and de Je­sus for ex­tor­tion. De Je­sus, the ketchup killer, has re­port­edly skipped town while Si­moes faces pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion.

“Did she re­ally not no­tice that the knife was stuck in the armpit?” Vera Mar­cia de Araujo, a lo­cal shop­keeper, told a lo­cal news­pa­per. “The whole town is laugh­ing in her face.”

Lupita, now a lo­cal celebrity nick­named the “ketchup wo­man”, seems to have come off best. Re­cent re­ports sug­gested her new­found fame had led to her be­ing touted for a seat in the town hall.

“That’s what peo­ple are say­ing around here, but it’s some­thing I’ll have to think about,” she said. – Guardian News & Me­dia 2011 THE Bri­tish Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (BBC) is fac­ing a back­lash from lead­ing pre­sen­ters over the ad­vice that they should use “re­li­giously neu­tral” terms in­stead of BC or AD be­cause non­Chris­tians could take of­fence.

Guid­ance from the broad­caster’s ethics spe­cial­ists says that the phrases Com­mon Era and Be­fore Com­mon Era should be con­sid­ered as re­place­ments for Anno Do­mini and Be­fore Christ.

It says: “As the BBC is com­mit­ted to im­par­tial­ity, it is ap­pro­pri­ate that we use terms that do not of­fend or alien­ate non­Chris­tians. In line with modern prac­tice, BCE/CE (Be­fore Com­mon Era/Com­mon Era) are used as a re­li­giously neu­tral al­ter­na­tive to BC/AD.”

John Humphrys, a pre­sen­ter of BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme, says he does not see “a prob­lem” with us­ing BC and AD, as the terms

that is the ques­tion for bbc. are “clearly un­der­stood” by most au­di­ences.

Dur­ing his Sun­day morn­ing po­lit­i­cal pro­gramme on BBC One, An­drew Marr said that he would also con­tinue to use the tra­di­tional date de­scrip­tions. “I say AD and BC be­cause that’s what I un­der­stand,” he told view­ers. “I don’t know what the Com­mon Era is. Why is it the Com­mon Era in 20AD and it wasn’t the Com­mon Era in 20BC?”

Mayor of Lon­don Boris John­son, who pre­sented a BBC doc­u­men­tary on the Ro­mans, de­scribes the plan as “puerile, spineless and ab­surd”.

In a col­umn for the Tele­graph, he urges read­ers to com­plain to the cor­po­ra­tion’s most se­nior ex­ec­u­tives.

The be­gin­ning of the Com­mon Era is dated from the same point as the Gre­go­rian Chris­tian cal­en­dar, but re­moves any ref­er­ence to the birth of Je­sus.

Crit­ics says that be­cause the sec­u­lar ter­mi­nol­ogy still uses the birth of Christ as its ref­er­ence point, switch­ing to the term Com­mon Era would make lit­tle dif­fer­ence.

How­ever, the terms have been gain­ing ac­cep­tance within the BBC, with some pro­grammes us­ing the phrases.

The BBC de­nies that it is of­fi­cial pol­icy for pro­duc­ers to adopt the “neu­tral” terms. A spokesman for the cor­po­ra­tion says in­di­vid­ual pro­grammes are free to choose which terms to use. – © The Daily Tele­graph UK 2011

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