AddThis SmartLayers

LEP exclusive on Olympic champ's secret heartbreak

A Lancashire reporter has been telling HoldtheFrontPage how she beat the national tabloids to an Olympic exclusive.

Nicola Adam, a reporter on the Lancashire Evening Post, was the first to break the news about the secret heartbreak behind Jason Queally’s gold medal triumph in Sydney.

Queally’s sister had commited suicide only a year ago, just as his training for the Olympic cycling event reached top gear.

Lindsay Queally, who lived in Caton, near Lancaster, had been fighting depression and eating disorders before she took a fatal overdose of 140 paracetomol tablets.

Nicola admitted that she found the story by chance.

She explained: “On the Monday after Jason had won his gold medal I got a tip-off from a member of the public who knew quite a lot about the area. This person thought that Jason Queally was more than likely a relative of a girl who had commited suicide last year.”

Nicola decided to investigate. She said: “I thought it was a possible case of someone putting two and two together and getting five but I decided to look around anyway. During the week I pursued several different avenues, before finally speaking to a local coroner who confirmed that the previous year there had been an inquest into the death of Lindsay Queally.

“However, I still didn’t have anything to confirm that the two were related in any way.”

Her next step was to patiently wade through archive material from the time.

She said: “I looked through cuttings from the Lancaster Guardian to see what had been written about the death. Eventually I found a report on the inquest which gave lots of information about the circumstances surrounding the suicide. That’s how I found out that Jason was actually her brother.”

Nicola continue: “Just as I started investigating the situation, a reporter from the Sun turned up at our offices in Lancaster to conduct his own investigations. They were probably just trying to find out where he lived and his family background but nevertheless I decided not to tell them what I had been told.”

As a result, Nicola was able to use the story as an ‘exclusive’ before the tabloids got their hands on it.

Nicola revealed that the hardest part of her research was trying to get quotes from people who knew Jason Queally and his family.

She said: “He’s a fairly private person and most of his close friends and family are over in Sydney with him. Other people I spoke to, such as staff at the track where he trains, had no idea his sister had died. They were genuinely shocked at the news.”

Nevertheless, Nicola is proud of her scoop.

She said: “It was nice to put one over on the nationals for a change.”

Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111 x6022, or to e-mail us now – click here