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Watchdog rejects man’s claim he should not have been named in inquest story

A man who claimed a newspaper should not have not named him in a story about his brother’s inquest has had his complaint thrown out by the press watchdog.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has rejected a complaint by Craig Lord against the Rochadale Observer after the paper reported on an inquest into the death of his brother Brent.

Mr Lord claimed the story was inaccurate and said it had intruded into the family’s privacy by naming him and his mother.

But IPSO sided with the Observer on the grounds that all details reported had been heard at the inquest hearing.

Rochdale cop

The story, which appeared on the Observer’s front page on 15 October last year, reported Mr Lord’s brother had “died from the injuries he sustained from a suicide attempt more than 20 years ago.”

Complaining under Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock), and Clause 5 (Reporting suicide) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Mr Lord said he had not “arrived to find his brother in an ambulance”, as reported, among other inaccuracies.

He also claimed the issue had not been handled sensitively by the Observer and that his mother had not been approached prior to publication.

In response, the Observer said the coroner had provided a letter which stated that the inquest had not included any oral evidence given by witnesses – instead written statements were read out by the court

The letter said that a statement from Mr Lord and his mother included information that he had attended his brother’s home and had seen him being attended to in the back of the ambulance.

It added journalists are entitled to report on inquests and what is heard during court proceedings.

IPSO found that while Mr Lord had disputed that the story accurately described the events of that day, newspapers are responsible for accurately reporting what is heard in court and not the accuracy of what is heard by the court.

The Committee acknowledged that the publication of Mr Lord’s name had caused him concern, but said this information had already been made public as part of the inquest proceedings.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.