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Inaccurate police press release prompts stalker’s complaint about weekly

An inaccurate police press release prompted a convicted stalker to complain to the press watchdog after its contents were repeated by a weekly newspaper.

The woman went to the Independent Press Standards Organisation after her case was covered by the Wimbledon Guardian.

The woman had made an official complaint about the contents of the Metropolitan Police release, with a subsequent investigation finding the statement had exceeded the boundaries of the evidence of the case.

The outcome of the investigation prompted the Guardian to amend its story online to remove the inaccurate details.

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The unnamed woman claimed the Guardian’s story had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

She cited inaccuracies including that the offences to which she had pleaded guilty had taken place across a three-month period, as opposed to a three-year period, and that she had only been interviewed twice, rather than the five times reported.

She further denied driving past a couple’s house on fourteen occasions and said she had not done so with the intent of stalking them as that there had been mitigating circumstances – such as the drive being recommended by a mechanic as a way to help her car.

Denying a breach of Code, the Guardian said the story had been based upon a press release issued by the Met, with copy provided by a national news agency, and published in good faith.

During IPSO’s investigation, the woman received the outcome of her complaint about the police press release.

The investigation found that the press release issued had exceeded the boundaries of the evidence of the case, with an amended version circulated.

Upon receipt of this, the Guardian immediately amended the online story to remove the points of dispute and published an update explaining this.

This resolved the matter to the woman’s satisfaction, and the full resolution statement can be read here.