University of Birmingham takes legal action after student newspaper's spoof ad
University of Birmingham lawyers have taken legal action against a student newspaper after it published a spoof advert commemorating Britain’s most violent child killers.
The Sanctuary newspaper, which is distributed on the university campus, dedicated a full page to an advert offering designer china emblazoned with images of Ian Huntley, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and Fred and Rose West.
The joke caused outrage with campaign groups that represent families of victims of murder.
The student newspaper invited its readers to celebrate “the plucky, mischievous Brits who did gratuitous violence best” and included a bad taste poem in their honour.
Lawyers from the University of Birmingham said they had taken legal action against the newspaper after its crest was displayed on the front page of the offending publication.
Officials at the university had not given permission for the historic emblem, which reads “per ad ardua alta” or “through difficulties to the heights”, to be used anywhere in the publication.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “The University of Birmingham was made aware that The Sanctuary newspaper was using the university crest without permission.
“Legal action was taken immediately to inform The Sanctuary’s Birmingham editorial team of this breach, a breach which has been acknowledged and a guarantee given that it will not be used in future.
“The University of Birmingham has also contacted the national publishers of The Sanctuary, which is customised and then distributed at a number of UK universities.
“The managing director has confirmed the misuse of the crest and provided assurances that there was no intention from the owners of the publication to give the impression that it was connected with, endorsed or approved by the university.
“The MD has also confirmed that there will be no further breaches.
“The University of Birmingham does not endorse this publication and does not condone its contents”.
Despite publishers back-tracking on their use of the university’s crest, the editor of The Sanctuary, Christopher Philip Bacon, refused to apologise after calls from campaign groups to do so.
Mr Bacon, who was unavailable for comment last night, said earlier this week: “It is deeply regrettable that people waste their money on the kind of sentimental tat advertised in Sunday newspapers, which our ‘advert’ was clearly lampooning.”
A spokeswoman for the Support After Murder and Manslaughter help group, added: “It is beyond belief that anybody can think it is acceptable to print something like this.
“It is incredibly offensive to bereaved families and glorifies violence and killing. The people who put this advert out probably intend it as a joke, but it is just sick.”