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Editor says sorry for running innocent man’s photo with paedophile court story

Thomas SinclairAn editor beset by a string of past legal controversies has apologised after publishing an innocent man’s photograph alongside a story about a sex offender with “paedophile tendencies”.

Thomas Sinclair, who edits the Pembrokeshire Herald, has said sorry to David John Badham, who was wrongly pictured in a report about David Richard Badham.

The Herald had covered David Richard Badham’s sentencing at Swansea Crown Court after he engaged in highly sexualised conversations with an undercover police officer he believed to be a 14-year-old boy.

The error, which the Herald says was rectified “within minutes”, has prompted the family of David John Badham to launch a crowdfunder with the intention of launching legal action over the issue..

Thomas, pictured, said in a public apology issued on the Herald’s Facebook page on Monday: “Yesterday, we put a story up on the Herald website that named local man David Badham as ‘having pedophile tendancies [sic]’.

“Accompanying that story was a picture that we had been assured was of the guilty man, unfortunately this was not correct.

“Within minutes of the story being placed online, it became clear that the image was incorrect so we acted promptly to correct the issue.

“The correct image was attached to the story and re-uploaded quickly.”

Thomas went on to say the Herald had “turned a spotlight on all manner of wrongdoings across the county” during the past seven years.

He added: “And it’s now time to turn that spotlight on ourselves. We were given the incorrect picture by a family member of the guilty man, and we were assured the image was 100pc correct.

“We have, of course, deleted every trace of the incorrect image and links associated that are under our control.

“We would ask for anyone else who is purposely sharing the old link to delete this if and where it exists.

“We’re deeply sorry for any distress caused by this genuine mistake. Systems are now in place to ensure this issue never happens again.”

The issue is the latest controversy to befall the Herald with regards to its coverage of court cases in recent years.

In 2016, Thomas was warned over his “cavalier” approach to reporting restrictions in October 2016 as he was fined £500 for publishing the name of a 17-year-old defendant in a youth court case.

The following year, he was fined £1,500 for identifying the victim of a sexual offence via so-called ‘jigsaw’ identification, having told a previous hearing that “people probably already knew who she [the victim] was”.

The latest error has prompted the family of David John Badham to launch a crowdfunding page to help mount a legal action over the issue.

On the page, set up on the Go fund Me platform, Mr Badham’s partner Liz Pawlett wrote: “Today we were inundated with floods of messages/phone calls from friends warning us that David’s picture was on an article that the Herald newspaper had written.

“To our utter shock, his picture was on the internet along with an article about a convicted pedophile. My partner is a caring, loving father to our children and also works incredibly hard and tirelessly for the Pembrokeshire County Council looking after children from eight to 18 with special needs.

“He has an exceptional reputation and wonderful rapour [sic] with these children and also the parents.

“Having his picture even remotely related to something as vile as this article is so damaging could affect his career and us as a family massively.”

HTFP has approached the Herald for further comment.