Dennis McKenzie exploits murdered children thanks to WHSmith

Dennis McKenzie exploits murdered children thanks to WHSmithI was doing some last minute Xmas shopping at Teesside Retail Park today, December 23rd 2009—when I noticed on the bookshelf in WHSmith a book entitled “Being the Soham Psychic”, by Dennis McKenzie.

The front cover of the book shows a picture of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were murdered by Ian Huntley alongside a picture of the author, above the caption, “The man who talks to the other side”. There is also a quote by one of the murdered children’s fathers apparently endorsing McKenzie as a so-called medium.

I am extremely disappointed with WHSmith for stocking this exploitative garbage. The cold reading techniques which charlatans like McKenzie use to prey on the credulity of vulnerable people are sick. This is not the kind of thing I expect from a family brand, such as WHSmith and I think it’s time it stopped.

WHSmith, for those who don’t already know, is a well trusted high-street newsagent, in the UK. Every 11 year old remembers buying their first calculator and pencil case, before starting their first term at comprehensive school, in their local Smiths. They also sell magazines and books, office draw essentials and stationary.

While I accept that, in the current financial climate, WHSmith need to compete on as many levels as possible with the hundreds of discount book stores on-line, I do not accept that a British brand we have all grown up with and trust should have to stoop to the level of facilitating pond scum cheats, who shamelessly promote themselves on the back of one of the most depraved crimes this country has ever witnessed.

The manager of the Teesside Park store was most understanding, when I complained about the book to him. He agreed with me that these sorts of books are not appropriate for a family brand like WHSmith to stock.

So in an appeal to the management of WHSmith PLC, please consider removing these kinds of exploitative and degrading publications from your shelves. If they form such an essential part of your company’s bottom line, that such a decision would affect shareholders, please consider displaying alongside these items, the many hundreds of books available worldwide on how the cynical and manipulative techniques of so-called psychics actually work.

Update: 24th Dec 2009. Despite that it is Xmas, WHSmith did call me back this morning, when I was unfortunately unavailable. I will keep you posted on what they say when they call back after the holidays.


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