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Tragic end to group’s bid to find missing man

Pat LambA regional newspaper website had to break the news of a man’s death just 24 hours after its journalists filmed a Crimewatch-style reconstruction of his last known movements.

Reporters from the Kent-based KM Group had been aiming to raise awareness of the disappearance of Pat Lamb, pictured left, whose body was found in the River Medway on Saturday evening.

The video, which clocked up more than 60,000 views on the group’s Kent Online website, was shot by trainee reporter Graham Stothard and presented by radio station kmfm’s news editor Nicola Everett.

Pat’s disappearance after a night out in Maidstone in December had attracted huge interest from readers, with his family and friends mounting a high-profile campaign to raise awareness of his plight in the hope he would be found safe and well.

After Saturday’s announcement, Kent Messenger reporter Ed McConnell spoke to Pat’s dad Tony at 11pm, and he confirmed the family knew the body was that of Pat after police found his phone and wallet.

They took the decision to break the news on the website, despite the lack of police confirmation.

The story was read by more than a quarter of a million unique browsers in 24 hours.

KM Group editorial director Ian Carter said: “Our journalists had developed close contacts with the Lamb family and had worked with them from the outset to raise awareness of his disappearance, helping to distribute hundreds of Missing posters.

“We were all desperately hoping for a different outcome.

“The fact Ed was able to have a conversation with Pat’s dad Tony at such a traumatic time shows the value in building up personal, face-to-face contacts.”

The reconstruction video can be viewed here.