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Police rap nationals over "skewed" murder coverage

The regional media has been praised for its coverage of a murder story earlier this week which police say was misreported by the nationals.

Fifteen-year-old Kadeem Blackwood was shot dead in Derby on Tuesday night in what is believed to be the first-ever fatal shooting of a teenager in the city.

Yesterday Derbyshire’s assistant chief constable Peter Goodman hit out at national newspaper coverage of the tragedy saying it had given the public a “skewed” version of events.

He listed a catalogue of errors by national outlets including wrongly claiming that the police were hunting people in a car and that the killing had been a “drive-by shooting.”

“Many national newspapers and outlets have reported a number of inaccuracies in relation to the shooting of Kadeem Blackwood, despite being told to the contrary,” Mr Goodman said in a statement.

“For a point of clarification, this was not, and never was, being treated as a drive-by shooting. We are not seeking people in a car. Both parties were on foot in the park and left on foot. Also Kadeem was shot once, not twice, as is being reported by some outlets.

“Obviously it is unhelpful to the investigation for such inaccuracies to go out as it gives people a skewed version of what has occurred.”

Mr Goodman went on to praise the regional media coverage saying: “I think it is fair to say that the local and regional coverage on this case so far as been informed, accurate and balanced, which is very much appreciated.”

Several of the national papers also used pictures taken from Kadeem’s Bebo site which depicted him posing as a gangster.

But Neil White, deputy editor of the Derby Evening Telegraph, said the paper had made an editorial decision not to use the pictures on the grounds that they didn’t prove anything.

“We asked ourselves: ‘Should we publicise images of what amounted to a 15-year-old posing in the fashion of a gangster? What did they actually prove? What was his record of gang-associated crime?'” said Neil.

“The answer to the latter was none that we were aware of.

“What we actually have is a Derby family in deep distress over the murder of a 15-year-old boy and a community coming to terms with the first ever shooting to death of a Derbyshire teenager.

“We have an excellent relationship with Derbyshire Police and are grateful that they kept us fully briefed on this murder inquiry. Thus we were more than happy to stick to the facts as presented by them and Kadeem’s family.”