Probe launched after photographer's sick Facebook posts about Michaela Harte
Published 24/01/2011 | 11:20
A newspaper photographer who posted vile messages on Facebook about tragic Michaela McAreavey is being investigated by the paper’s bosses.
Susanne Morrison — who takes pictures for the County Down Outlook weekly paper — ranted that she was “sick of hearing” about Michaela's murder because she could not see “what makes her so special”.
Susanne also made other sickening remarks which we are not repeating.
Bizarrely, she added that Michaela’s honeymoon murder was a case of “karma” and that “what goes around comes around”.
Rathfriland girl Susanne, a Rangers and Linfield fan who has 613 Facebook ‘friends’, posted on her wall: “Susanne Morrison is sick hearing about Makeala [sic] Hartes death!
“Thousands of people die terrible deaths every day through diseases and whatever so what makes her so special.
“Soldiers don’t get as much coverage as she has and they are risking their lives to protect us! Its about time this country got its priorities right!!!”
Within minutes five people had posted comments.
One gave her the sensible advice: “If you don't want to hear about it, don't watch it. And stop complaining about it.”
Another wrote: “At least spell her name right.”
But Susanne sneered: “o well haha god nos wat way she spells it”.
And unmoved by the suggestion that she should shut up, Susanne, 19, added further insult, saying: “What is it they say about what goes around comes around or karma or what ever u wanna call it! or as my mum would say your sins will always find u out hehe.”
The Co Down Outlook, where Susanne works part-time, circulates in the area where Michaela’s devastated widower John McAreavey plays football for the Down county side and where John and Michaela had bought a new home in Lawrencetown.
Co Down Outlook editor Joanne Ross issued a statement to Sunday Life last week saying that they were horrified by the Facebook comments and the paper was investigating.
Joanne Ross said: “We are totally appalled by the comments made on Facebook.
“The views and opinions expressed are those of the individual author and are not shared or endorsed by the company.
“The County Down Outlook therefore categorically disassociates itself with the comments made and we have acted immediately to investigate this urgent matter, which is currently ongoing.”
The Co Down Outlook is part of the Alpha newspaper group — owned by multi-millionaire former Unionist MP, John Taylor, now Lord Kilclooney, and his family.
On her Facebook site Susanne Morrison describes one of her activities as “being Protestant”.
She also listed among her jokey interests — “Waking up on July 12th and realising you are God’s chosen race” and “Prods don’t do mass, but if they did, it would probably be the best mass in the world. It’s Northern Ireland not Ireland. I’m proud to be British!”
Sunday Life tried to contact Susanne last week but she refused to return our calls.
On Friday, her solicitors sent us a fax saying Susanne Morrison had no comment to make in relation to any proposed story.
The solicitors said that if we published information “in respect of which our client had a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’,” then their client would be entitled to bring an action for misuse of “private information”.
Ms Morrison’s comments — the subject of the Outlook newspaper’s investigation — had already been widely circulated by herself on the Internet and she had provoked comments from some of her hundreds of Facebook ‘friends’.
Minutes after she posted the comments one pal agreed: “your f****n right suzy.”
Another said: “U tell em lol.”
And even when one advised her to ignore the media coverage of Michaela McAreavey’s murder if she didn’t like it, Susanne posted back defiantly: “U can’t miss it its everywhere on every channel u flick on to! Don’t get me wrong its terrible and you wouldn’t wish it on anybody but lots of people die and it never makes the news. Everyone should be treated the same!”
All the offensive material concerning Michaela’s murder was later removed.
Former Rathfriland High School pupil Susanne, who has an HND qualification in photography from the Southern Regional College, says on her Facebook that her favourite football teams include Linfield and Rangers – and that she likes “cuddling, hugging, chocolate chip cookies, smiling and photography”.
Susanne has also written on her homepage: “2011 is gonna be a good year — I have so much planned!!”
On her Flickr page she describes herself as a newspaper photographer while on another site she said: “I have a real passion for photography. Whatever the occasion you are guaranteed a unique style of photography that captures the mood, laughter and all the fun.”
© Sunday Life