Clauses Noted: 3
Publication: Daily Mail
Karen Murrell of Essex complained that she had received a telephone call from a man claiming to be from the Daily Mail asking whether a “David Murrell” lived at the address. As she was unsure about the caller, she decided to ask the reason why he wanted the information. The man explained that there had been a plane crash in Africa and a David Murrell had been named as one of the passengers.
The complainant said her son David was at University but raised concerns that if it had been her son in the crash, the newspaper’s approach – which, it appeared to the complainant, consisted of calling all the Murrells listed in the phone book – would have been unacceptable.
The newspaper said it was unable to identify the reporter concerned and emphasised that it had a large number of staff reporters and casual reporters, and it knew that freelancers often mentioned the Daily Mail when researching stories, whether or not they were actually employees.
That said, the newspaper said it was sorry to hear of the distress caused to the complainant and assured her that in most cases like the one she described, the family would have already been informed of the incident. It also emphasised that reporters had a duty to contact people in such circumstances to check the facts of the case.
The newspaper thanked the complainant for bringing the matter to its attention and agreed to remind its reporters to be extremely diligent and careful at all times.
The complainant agreed to resolve her complaint on the basis of a public record being published on the PCC website.
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