Resolution Statement 18882-17 Nelstrop v Mail Online
Summary of Complaint
1. Louise Nelstrop complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 5 (Reporting suicide) in an article headlined, “Artist, 40, who thought she was ugly killed herself after her husband refused to let her have Botox treatment,” published on 5 October 2017.
2. The article reported on the inquest into the death of the complainant’s sister. It stated that she had suffered from facial dysmorphia and reported on the events leading up to her death. It also included several photographs of the complainant’s sister.
3. The complainant said that the article was an inaccurate report of what was heard during the inquest. The complainant said that these inaccuracies had misrepresented her sister’s illness and the publication of this information, as well as the photographs, intruded into her grief and shock.
4. The publication expressed regret that the article had caused upset to the complainant. It provided the reporter’s notes from the inquest, and said the article was an accurate report of inquest proceedings. Nevertheless, it offered to make amendments to the article to address the complainant’s concerns.
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 correction, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)
In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.
Clause 5 (Reporting suicide) *
When reporting suicide, to prevent simulative acts care should be taken to avoid excessive detail of the method used, while taking into account the media’s right to report legal proceedings.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the publication offered to remove the article.
8. The complainant said that this resolved 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: 07/10/2017
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 04/12/2017