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Father's distress over paramedic's inquest quote

Below are summaries of the latest complaints involving the regional press which have been resolved between the parties involved, with help from the Press Complaints Commission.

Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Mr JE Reilly, of Buckingham, complained that the newspaper had published information that a paramedic had reportedly told police that his son, Stephen, had died “within minutes” of the paramedics entering his property – when, in fact, he had already been dead when the paramedics entered the house. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The newspaper stated that the phrase – a direct quotation from one of the paramedics at the inquest – had been intended to convey the paramedic’s belief that the deceased had died only minutes before his arrival, rather than after it. It accepted however, that the wording might have been misleading, and offered to publish a clarification.

The complainant said that he did not wish for any further publication on the matter, but requested a private letter of apology, and the complaint was resolved when the newspaper agreed to provide this.

Malton and Pickering Mercury
Sue Hayhurst complained that an article had inaccurately claimed that a horse she had previously owned was in “poor condition” when it was “rescued” by its new owners. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The newspaper explained that the information under dispute had been based on a press release which had later been amended. However, the newspaper made clear that it had not received the amended press release and published the original version in good faith. The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following apology:

“Mally the pony

“We have been asked to point out, and are happy to do so, that a report published on 8 October incorrectly stated that a pony by the name of Mally (Aislaby Malagant) had been bought in poor condition. The animal, and its young rider, had been given a ‘makeover’ treat by Supreme Products after winning a competition, and the article was published in good faith on the information provided by TSM Ltd.

“We now understand from the previous owner that the pony was not in poor condition when she sold the animal and we apologise to her for publishing a statement that was incorrect.”

Hounslow and Heston Chronicle
Councillor Peter Thompson, Leader of the Council, London Borough of Hounslow, complained that an article about plans for a new leisure centre in Heston was inaccurate and misleading. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following statement:

“In the Hounslow & Heston Chronicle of 11 September we reported on the history of plans for a new leisure centre in Heston.

“Our report included: Mr David Blackett, chairman of Heston Residents’ Association said council leader Peter Thompson had told him tumbling house prices had put the buffers on talks. ‘The impression I got from talking to Cllr Thompson was that nothing would happen until such time as the property market picks up’, he explained.
‘Heston Pool is 70-years-old and if there was a major problem with the plant, which we’ve no good reason to suspect there will be, it might have to shut for good.’

“We now understand that any dialogue between Mr Blackett and Cllr Thompson was in email form, and not in conversation, and apologise for any confusion. It was Cllr Adrian Lee who first spoke on the implications of the housing slump in relation to the project, at a meeting of the Heston and Cranford Area Committee in May. We are happy to set the record straight.”

Scunthorpe Telegraph
Phil Henry complained that a number of comments on the newspaper’s website – in addition to some which appeared in the Web Views section of the newspaper – had been attributed to ‘PH, Ashby’. He was concerned that readers may have been misled into thinking that he had made the comments, when he had not. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper – which said that it would monitor future comments – published the following statement in its Web Views section, in addition to appending it to the relevant online articles:

“The Telegraph would like to make it clear that ‘PH, Ashby’ is not Phil Henry of Community Union, Scunthorpe Plate Mill branch secretary, who lives in Ashby.”

Rotherham Advertiser
John Haywood, Clerk to Wales Parish Council, complained that an article about Kiveton Park and Wales Village Hall was inaccurate and misleading. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification on the matter:

“Further to out article dated 15 August ‘Barred by the bar’, we have been asked to point out that the Wales Parish Council deny the claim made by a former parish councillor that they obtained a bank loan to fund the Kiveton Park and Wales Village Hall. Wales Parish Council also wish to make clear that the village hall cost £1.15m, and that the grant provided by the council to the hall equated to £97 per voter, and not £145, as we reported. We are happy to clarify the matter.”

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times
Mrs S Ashworth, of Clitheroe, complained that a report of her husband’s court case was inaccurate and included a detail which she considered to be private. (Clauses 1, 3).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper amended its online version of the article.