AddThis SmartLayers

M5 murder probe prompts special free edition

A weekly newspaper put out a special free edition after news of the discovery of a missing local woman’s body came hours too late for its normal deadline.

Staff at the Bath Chronicle had heard from well-placed sources that an ongoing postmortem examination was likely to conclude that bones found next to the M5 were the remains of 25-year-old Melanie Hall, who was last seen at a nightclub in the city in 1996.

The paper’s Wednesday afternoon deadline came and went without any official confirmation, and in the end, it splashed on a far less dramatic story about traffic congestion.

But once the grim news was confirmed, the Chronicle was able to secure a print slot for a 5,000-run, four-page special edition, pictured below, which will now be given away free with the rest of the paper from today.

In additon to the print special, the paper had two major pieces on its website within minutes of police confirming that they were now relaunching a murder inquiry.

Chronicle editor Sam Holliday said: “The discovery of Melanie’s body is a major development in a story which has cast a cloud over our city. We were gutted that events conspired against us for our main edition but delighted that we’ve now been able to do justice to the breakthrough that we hope for the family’s sake that this is.”

Deputy editor Paul Wiltshire said staff at the paper “agonised” on Wednesday afternoon about how to handle the story.

“There was concern that splashing on a hunch could end up with the paper being out of date almost immediately as the story moved on – or being horrifically wrong for a whole week,” he added.

  • A 37-year-old man who was arrested in connection with Melanie’s murder after walking into a police station in Greater Manchester saying he wanted to talk about the case has been ruled out as a suspect.

    The man went to Cheadle Heath police station, in Stockport, earlier, but Avon and Somerset Police say he has been eliminated from the inquiry.