Here is Reg's story in full and thank you once again
WAY WE REACT TO DEATH IS A DYING SHAME
6 October 2006...
DEATH and taxes are the only things that are certain, some old guy once said. Plenty folk disprove his views on the powers of the Inland Revenue, but death? Worrying about it is enough to kill you.
We can cure some types of cancer, send punters into space, use DNA to prove exactly who sweated on that murdering chib 30 years ago and a hell of alot more. With all the progress we've made, now is a very good time to live. But, as ever, it's a good time to die.
Death is the great leveller that no one escapes from, no matter how much dosh they have. Even the death of a stranger is enough to illicit a pang of grief in us. Or is it?
Who didn't feel their emotions well up hearing of young Angelika Kluk's murder?
No one except the bitter, twisted and self-centred. Oh aye, and her killer, of course.
Confession time. After her death, driving past a Polish deli, the sight of the Saltire and the Polish flag draped in the window was enough to bring a tear to this wizened scribbler's eye.
Think I was the only one? Yet do we sympathise with the bereavement of some more than others? Can any of us admit to ever being pleased that someone had popped their clogs?
Moors murderer Myra Hindley maybe? Or when her partner in crime, Ian Brady, snuffs it? Understandable, but what of those no one has called monster?
I was just settling into the heat of Egypt when a pal phoned to tell me Glenn Lucas had suddenly died. We had written a book together about the Arlene Fraser case and you can't have that kind of partnership without friendship and admiration.
The simple, tragic news was enough to turn a country where the sun always shines as cold as the grave. For me at least.
But I knew there would be others who'd greet the news with a satisfied smile. The ones who would gain by his loss. The ones who were safer once he was dead. Tales of suicide and taking secrets to his grave soon hit the wire. All rubbish but more than that.
Glenn was beyond being hurt, of course. But what about his wife, Maya? And his elderly mother? Did the muck slingers think of them?
Even his best friends wouldn't claim Paul Ferris was a poet. When he placed an In Memoriam ad recently for his two murdered pals, Bobby Glover and Joe Hanlon, most folk would have respected it at face value - a man still grieving for his mates 15 years after their deaths.
Not so some dull-witted hack in one of those big papers that comes out on Sundays.
He had to dedicate some good few column inches slagging off Ferris's rhymes.
Fair dos. Paul Ferris is grown-up enough to take criticism. Yet did the short-on-stories journo think of Hanlon and Glover's grieving families? Let's hope not, since that would have been deliberately cruel.
But if he didn't, why didn't he?
If you've been convicted of a crime or simply charged then freed, does that make your family fair game for every cheap-shot artist around?
What would we think of someone being so cruel to Helen Lennie who tragically watched her sons, Robert and John, being gunned down by David "Deid-Eye" Docherty?
Or to Kriss Donald's mum as the details of his death unfold at the trial of those accused of his murder. We all know, don't we.
Flash across the Atlantic to the Amish community mourning the senseless slaughter of their schoolgirls by Charles Carl Roberts. Not only are they talking about forgiveness, they have said that Roberts' wife and family would be welcome at the girls' funerals.
In all their grief and pain, they still manage to reach out and understand that the wife of the killer isn't the killer. That she, too, is in pain. That she needs to grieve.
The Amish might live, talk and dress in a way that most of us don't fancy.
But a little of their humanity might make our world a better place. Wouldn't it?