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Complainant Name:
Linda Snook

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Whitstable Times


Linda Snook complained, on behalf of her son Jonathan Snook, that the newspaper had stated that Jonathan was an “escaped […] violent mental patient” when this was not the case. Her son was a voluntary patient who was receiving treatment for a genuine mental illness that had impacted upon his normally friendly personality.


The complaint was resolved when the newspaper made a donation to a charity of the complainant’s choice and published the following clarification and apology in a prominent position:

On 30 April 2009 we published an article headlined “Residents in fear of escaped patient” which reported that Jonathan Snook had “escaped” from St Martin’s hospital. We have been asked to make clear that Mr Snook did not abscond from the hospital: he was a voluntary patient and was free to leave at any time. In the article Mr Snook was described as a “violent mental patient”. We accept that this terminology may not have been appropriate for an individual receiving medical care. His mother, Mrs Linda Snook, said: "This was an unfair and derogatory remark to someone who is unwell and does not have a violent personality”. We apologise for the distress caused by the coverage. A donation has been made to Macmillan Cancer Care.

Report: 79

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