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Website agrees to delete crash site image after grieving mum’s complaint

NewIPSOA regional news website has agreed not to re-use a picture taken at the scene of a road accident that claimed the life of her 16-year-old son.

Grieving mum Sara Emery complained to the press watchdog that Hull Live had breached Clause 4 of the Editor’s Code, which covers intrusion into grief or shock, in a story headlined ‘Multi-vehicle’ crash closes A166 in East Yorkshire – live updates’ published on 18 September 2023.

The piece was illustrated with a stock picture showing two police cars parked on a road.

However Ms Emery said the image had originally been taken at the scene of a fatal accident involving her 16-year-old son which had happened four years previously.

Ms Emery said that although the image did not show her son, and appeared to be an “innocuous” photo to anyone else, its publication had caused great distress to her and her family.

She told the Independent Press Standards Organisation that she had contacted Hull Live previously about the use of the image in a separate article, and been assured it would be deleted and not published again.

On this occasion, Ms Emery contacted the publication prior to involving IPSO to request the picture’s removal, which the website agreed to do.

However while expressing regret at the hurt caused, it did not accept that publishing it had breached the Code as it did not include any imagery of a sensitive nature and depicted only emergency service vehicles on a road.

IPSO began an investigation into the matter, but during the course of this the publication offered add a legal warning to the image to ensure it would not be used again, either by Hull Live or any other sister Reach plc publications.

The complainant said this would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.  The full resolution statement can be read here.