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Complainant Name:
Mary Smith

Clauses Noted: 1, 5

Publication: Western Gazette

Complaint:

Mary Smith of Dorset complained that an inquest report into the death of her son contained inaccuracies and was published without due sensitivity.

Resolution:

The editor of the newspaper wrote the complainant a private letter of apology and published a letter from her with the following wording:

I am writing this letter to the Western Gazette in response to a complaint made on behalf of my sonís family against a media report published in March, following Simon's Inquest on 28 February 2007.

After initially contacting The Press Complaints Commission I now wish to thank the Editor, Mr Tim Dixon for responding to my concerns with a conciliatory letter of apology and for allowing Simonís family to publish this letter.

My son took his own life after struggling to cope with several major disappointments that completely overwhelmed him in the months leading up to his death in October 2006.

Our concerns with the initial report post - Inquest referred to inaccuracies and sensationalism in part.

These concerns have now been redressed and one can hope that in future, all reports of self inflicted deaths will be constrained, mindful of the World Health Organisation's recommended guidelines to the media concerning the impact such reporting has on families, especially for children who have to struggle with a traumatic bereavement for the rest of their lives and to try and make sense of it.

Simon was a loving father, brother and son who was valued and respected by all. He was a charismatic and endearing young man who loved his family and friends. Always standing up for his beliefs, righting wrongs, he had a moral conscience about humanity and the environment. Si worked as an Operating Department Practitioner for an agency at local Dorchester hospitals and was highly respected as a hard working, experienced professional by his work colleagues. He trained at Poole, Southampton and Bournemouth Hospitals. His work colleagues in the UK and New Zealand have been devastated by his death and tributes still pour in. Over 150 people attended Simonís funeral, a fitting testament to his life and the way he touched people's lives.

The complaint was resolved on this basis.

Report: 75



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