In a north London suburb last week, a schoolgirl was beaten, gang-raped and then had drain-cleaning fluid poured on her body apparently to destroy DNA evidence. In the eternal cesspit of senseless urban crime, I feel that a dreadful nadir of sorts has been reached, a benchmark of slaked lust and casual, sadistic cruelty.
Police sources say the 16-year-old will never fully recover from the injuries caused by the caustic soda and, at the time of writing, she remains under heavy sedation in a burns unit, fighting for her life.
One could weep an ocean for this young woman, her life ruined by these savages, who hunted in a pack like animals and dragged her to an empty house, caring nothing for her wellbeing or future.
Drain cleaner? The callous premeditation is shocking, and underlines the fact that some of the rootless delinquents who roam the London streets are now scraping the bottom of the barrel of humanity.
I'm almost embarrassed to say that the attackers have been described as "five black youths", in case you think I'm being racist in highlighting this crime.
Yes, these are the peculiar times we live in, particularly in a week when Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has pointed out that "white flight is accelerating" as Britain becomes increasingly polarised along ethnic lines.