We, as an organ of the press, have always respected our great political philosophers in the time-honoured tradition. We were somewhat perturbed yesterday, to say the least, upon learning of the fateful events, which occurred in one of London's oldest academic institutions.
It is our sad duty to inform our readers that on Monday morning a group of thieves broke into the main hall of University College London and stole the remains of Jeremy Bentham. Bentham, well known as one of England's leading political philosophers, had requested in his will that his body be dissected as part of an open lecture in anatomy. He was later preserved, stored in the "auto-icon" and purchased officially by the University in 1850.
From what has been ascertained by police, Bentham was stolen from his residence at the South Cloisters end of the main building around dawn on Monday morning. The caretaker patrolling the wing described how he was attacked and chloroformed by a group of hooded assailants. When he emerged from his topor to his absolute astonishment the entire 'auto-icon' had vanished.
Staff of the University were left reeling in shock at the sheer enormity of the crime. Our correspondent at the scene had the opportunity of interviewing a tearful vice chancellor who ushered the statement: "we have lost forever one our foremost thinkers. Look what those vagabonds have done to our beloved university". Emeritus Professor of Political Science Robert Davidson was inconsolable: "This is the worst calamity to befall University College". A passing postgraduate student of Law simply stated: "He'll be sorely missed".
The police sent out an immediate media appeal for his return. Chief Constable Oats issued the statement: "we know this is the work of a small group of individuals operating in the London area and we request that you bring Bentham home". According to our correspondent the Vice Chancellor was relegated to the microphone where he sent out a heart felt plea "Please return him unharmed".
Police believe the theft may be the work of a group of eccentric individuals attributed to the underground 'Society for the liberation and rebirth of Jeremy Bentham'. Chief Inspector Doppler of the yard ushered the statement to the press "from the pattern of the crime, the motive and other material evidence we strongly suspect this to be the work of the SLRJB".
The SLRJB is an esoteric group who believe that Bentham still lives, his spirit echoing through the halls of University College London. Amongst members of this secret sect, it was often said that one day Bentham would rise from his cabinet and bestow his infinite wisdom upon us all.
Our experts suspect that with Bentham missing the only recourse will be his eventual replacement as a monument to the Universities political tradition. So we say, watch out Professors of Political philosophy - for you may be the victim of some brutal murder as the sword of Damocles hangs pendulously above your mortarboards.