Resolution Statement 01782-14 Williams v Daily Mirror
1. Chris Williams
complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily
Mirror breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an
article headlined “A date with death”, published on 8 November 2014.
2. The article
reported that Cerys Yemm had been killed by Matthew Williams, whom it described
as “cannibal killer”. The article stated that the victim had met Mr Williams on
a night out and accompanied him back to his hostel, where she had been killed in
an attack that involved acts of cannibalism.
3. The complainant
was the father of Matthew Williams. He said that it was inaccurate to refer to
his son as a “cannibal,” as at the time of publication no cause of death had
been established. The complainant said that this claim was based on statements
by witnesses and locals, which he believed were inaccurate.
4. The complainant
and publication agreed to put the complaint on hold until after the inquests
were complete and the full details of the event were known.
5. The complainant
said that the inquest had found that cannibalism had not taken place, and
therefore it had been inaccurate for the publication to report this when it had
not been confirmed as fact.
6. The newspaper
did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that the article had been
based on eye witness accounts, including a 999 call heard at the inquest. It
said that the findings of the inquest did not make the article inaccurate, as
it was published before the findings of the inquest were known; however they
had published subsequent articles reporting the findings of the inquests, which
made clear that no acts of cannibalism had taken place.
Relevant Code Provisions
7. Clause 1
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
8. The complaint
was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO
therefore began an investigation into the matter.
IPSO’s intervention, the publication added links to the follow-up articles to
the original article so that readers were aware of the outcome of the inquest.
10. The complainant said that this resolved the matter to
11. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the
Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been
any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 13/11/2014
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 16/06/2017
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