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Bereaved partner’s complaint over inaccurate story dismissed

IPSO_logo_newThe bereaved parter of a road crash victim has had her complaint about a story which used inaccurate information from a council website dismissed by the press regulator.

Lorna Dredger complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation under Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) over an article in the Braintree and Witham Times about road surveys being undertaken by Essex County Council.

The story was based on an agenda from a highways panel meeting, which referred to the fatal crash involving her partner Antonio Dredger.

The complainant said the Times had used his death to sensationalise the story, and she had been told by both the council and police the traffic surveys had nothing to do with the crash.

She also expressed concern she had not been informed the article would be published and that her daughter had been contacted by the Times to ask her views on the safety of the road, which had upset her.

The newspaper apologised for the distress caused and printed a correction after the council later confirmed the surveys were unrelated to the incident.

The complainant deemed this unsatisfactory and said the Times had not provided her with a draft of the correction before publication.

IPSO found the Times had been “entitled” to rely on the accuracy of information published on the council’s website, but found a “significant” inaccuracy in that the paper had suggested the surveys were aimed to address the causes of the collision.

The committee found a prompt correction had been sufficient to meet the terms of Clause 1, and also found no breaches of Clauses 3 or 5.

The complaint was not upheld.