Showing graphic images of beheadings carried out by the terrorist group Islamic State could encourage copycats, a criminology specialist has warned.
Dr Liz Yardley, deputy director of the Centre for Applied Criminology, said the media needed to limit the availability of ISIS videos, to prevent other people from following this lead.
On 5 September, news broke that an 82-year-old woman in Islington was beheaded by a Muslim man. Dr Yardley believes that the method of execution could have been triggered by exposure to videos and images of the two American journalists beheaded by ISIS and threats to do the same to other kidnapped Westerners.
She said, ‘This was clearly a horrific and devastating attack which has resulted in the tragic death of an elderly woman. It is far too early to draw any conclusions given the limited amount of information in the public domain. However, we need to start considering the extent to which the widespread availability of ISIS videos featuring graphic images of executions affect those who view them’.
Her warning came as Prime Minister David Cameron and other government ministers made a plea to other countries not to give in to ISIS demands and pay millions of dollars’ worth of ransoms.
It is believed that much of this ransom money is channelled into buying more weapons and training more fighters to carry out attacks.