The pictures, snatched flash-lit shots through the tinted windows of a limo, showed the strain on Rebekah Wade's face; the predator had become the prey. There is a fitting parallel with the same shots of newly-convicted paedos or terrorists snatched through the tinted windows of the prison van, the staple diet of the Murdoch press. Wade wears exactly the same expression for the unexpected camera as have a score of child-murderers or unexploded Jihadists. There's one difference. This time it's not a Murdoch title that has made Rebekah Wade the Most Hated Woman in Britain; it's, erm, largely the Guardian.
Greater love hath no proprietor than he lays down the life of a successful title for the love of his Chief Executive. And this will backfire. Next Sunday, when the stacks of papers in the newsagents are one short, when the substitutes the People and the Mirror are flung across three million sofas in disgust and disappointment, is a day when Ms Wade would be best advised to be at least 3,000 miles from Britain. Scores of pusillanimous MPs have discovered they actually have a backbone, and are writhing about in mock indignation like eels in a bucket; they will align themselves (of course) with the mob on this one. Last week they would have cringed, fawned and drunk their own warm urine for two favourable column inches in the Screws.
And you can forget all the high-sounding platitudes you will read today; 'this is a victory for truth and justice' or 'today there is no place for wrongdoing in British journalism'. Piffle. Today is a victory for the inchoate fury of the mob. The Guardian won't sell a single extra paper. The MSM will continue the trend set by Ms Wade to turn the Murdoch papers into D-list showbiz comics and the others will follow. If 'today is a victory' for anything at all it's hypocrisy, self-serving and spinelessness. The Screws was a British institution, as familiar and comfortable as a K6 phone box or a Routemaster bus. And that bloody woman ruined it.