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Agency’s report led to complaint against newspaper

A regional daily apologised after a woman complained to the Press Complaints Commission about a report on the inquest into her son’s death.

The story about the accidental death of Alex Snook appeared in the Western Daily Press but had been written and submitted by a news agency.

The woman, Catherine Lemon, said the article contained a number of inaccuracies. These included the article referring to her partner by her son’s name and inaccurately quoting his statement.

She also complained that the report had suggested that her son had died as a result of a fight with his brother.

The complaint was resolved through the publication of an apology in the newspaper which pointed out that the article had been submitted by a news agency.

The apology read: “On September 29 we reported the inquest into the accidental death of Alex Snook.

“It is important that we should make clear that the inquest did not find that his death was a result of an argument with his brother Peter over a film they were watching on television.

“We incorrectly referred to Alex’s stepfather as Peter Pemberton – this is in fact the name of Alex’s brother.

“We also incorrectly reported from Alex’s stepfather’s statement at the inquest, reporting wrongly that Peter wanted to watch the film alone, or that it had been 15 minutes between him last seeing Alex alive and discovering his body.

“The story was written by a news agency organisation, and printed in good faith by the Western Daily Press that it was accurate.

“We acknowledge the mistakes, and how it made the article misleading. We wish to apologise to Alex’s mother Catherine Lemon and her family for the distress caused by these errors.”