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Complainant Name:
Mr Nigel Adams and his daughter Miss Sarah Adams

Clauses Noted: 5

Publication: Bury Times


Mr Nigel Adams and his daughter Miss Sarah Adams of Holcombe Brook, Bury, complained that the visit made to their family by a representative of the Bury Times after the tragic death of James Adams, breached Clause 10 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Code of Practice.

The tragic road accident happened on the night of 15 October 1997, the complainants having been informed of the death at 3 a.m. the following morning, and returning home from the hospital at approximately 5.30 a.m. The reporter from the Bury Times arrived at 9.15 a.m. before the family had had time to take in the shock. Although he introduced himself and left immediately as requested, they considered he had behaved entirely without sympathy.

The group editor responded by saying that the accident had involved three fatalities. Further, while being a weekly newspaper meant fewer publication deadlines and therefore usually more leeway for timing visits, in the present case the reporter approached the family so soon after the accident trying to meet a deadline. However he had acted professionally, displaying necessary sensitivity by not returning. The group editor went on to explain that any approach to a grieving family ran the risk of being seen as intrusive.

Not Upheld


While the Commission noted the very sad circumstances and accepted that the family must have been suffering greatly when the reporter arrived, he was pursuing legitimate inquiries about a local tragedy. Further, the Commission had no evidence that he had conducted himself discourteously or without sufficient sympathy or discretion: he had left immediately when asked, apparently with little time to say more than his name and which newspaper he represented.

The complaint under Clause 10 was rejected.


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