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Political journalist’s last weeks revealed in new documentary

The last weeks of a regional daily journalist’s life have been broadcast in a new documentary.

Liam Clarke, who served as the Belfast Telegraph’s political editor, died suddenly two days after Christmas last year after being diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer.

He passed away two weeks after the BBC began filiming the documentary, which aired in Northern Ireland on Monday.

In the weeks before his death he had broken major political stories, including the resignation of Peter Robinson as the region’s First Minister.

Liam, right, with wife Kathryn during filming

Liam, right, with wife Kathryn during filming

Discussing his work in the documentary, Liam said: “I don’t really go along with this idea that there are several truths and everyone has a truth. Something happens, and I think it’s the job of the press to tell you what happens.”

When asked if his illness had affected his writing, he said that his energy levels were not quite what they had been and added: “It’s probably made me a more compassionate person… it makes me think less that I should pursue a fight or a vendetta with somebody… though I can’t say that I never snap at anyone.”

The film includes a meeting with his oncologist who delivers the news that the cancer has spread to his lung.

Liam spent his last night, Boxing Day evening, at home surrounded by his three children.

His widow Kathryn recalled: “On Boxing day he felt just terribly weak and sick and said his stomach felt heavy. He just said he would put up with it. He was as cold as ice – really as cold as ice.

“And then at about 10 to two [am] he called – [daughter] Alice and I were sitting talking in the kitchen. He called for us and we went up and by the time we got up there it was too late; he was lying dead.”