Resolution Statement – 11134-20 Hayes v liverpoolecho.co.uk
Summary of Complaint
1. Kerry Hayes complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the liverpoolecho.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “'Amazing' and popular young man, 21, died at a sleepover”, published on 25 June 2020.
2. The article reported on the inquest of young man who had died suddenly from a medical condition. It reported that the man’s friend found him on the floor and that he died a short time later.
3. The complainant was the mother of the man who died. She said that it was not the case her son had died shortly after being found by his friend – he had already passed away when he was found. She said that this inaccuracy had caused her and her family much distress.
4. The newspaper offered its condolences to the complainant for her loss and apologised for any distress caused by the article. It provided notes taken by the reporter at the inquest, which said that at 11.40am, the friend found the man in the front bedroom, and at 11.55am, it was confirmed that the man had passed away. Although it did not accept that this represented a significant inaccuracy, it amended the article so that it read: “Nathan Hayes, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 11, was found on a bedroom floor at an address on Dorgan Close, Rainhill and was confirmed dead a short time later”.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. The newspaper offered to record the change which had been made to the article by adding the following footnote:
“An earlier version of this article reported that Nathan Hayes had been found unwell and then died. In fact, Nathan had already passed away when he was found. We apologise for the distress caused to Nathan’s family”
8. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.
9. 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: 30/06/2020
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 13/08/2020Back to ruling listing