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Arsonist gets story about conviction pulled from regional title

NewIPSOAn arsonist succeeded in getting a story about her conviction removed from a regional news website after complaining about it to the press watchdog.

Lancs Live took down the story about Nicola Clayton’s court case after she pursued a complaint about it with the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

The Reach plc-owned site had initially changed an inaccuracy in the headline of the story in a bid to resolve her complaint, but went a step further and removed all trace of the piece after she deemed the move insufficient.

In the story, headlined ‘Woman set fire to ex’s house after breakup left her fragile’, Lancs Live reported Clayton had pleaded guilty to arson after she was found to have “set fire to a house she had shared with her ex after the couple broke up”.

But its publication prompted her to complain to IPSO under Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 9 (Reporting of Crime) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

In her complaint, Clayton said it was inaccurate to report that the house she set fire to belonged to her former partner, who also did not live at the property at the time of the fire.

Other elements of her complaint included a claim that publication of her address intruded into her privacy and that she had not given her consent for the story to be published.

Lancs Live accepted the headline was inaccurate and amended it to ‘Woman set fire to house after breakup left her fragile’, publishing an accompanying correction, but denied any other breach of Code.

However, Clayton did not consider that the actions taken were sufficient and so IPSO launched an investigation.

During this investigation, she said that the removal of the online story in full, including from Lancs Live’s social media pages, would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.

Lancs Live removed the items in question as a gesture of goodwill to resolve the complaint and IPSO therefore discontinued its investigation.

The full resolution statement can be read here.