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News of the World writer regrets suicide of Denholm Elliott's daughter after hit piece

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:19 PM
Original message
News of the World writer regrets suicide of Denholm Elliott's daughter after hit piece
(Repost from UK forum, to let DUers know what the News of the World could be like)

On BBC Radio 4's "The World At One" today, Paul McMullan, the ex-News of the World reporter and deputy editor, who was the one that Hugh Grant bugged in retaliation for his own treatment, talked about his past behaviour. After a Sept 2010 BBC interview, he came back to the reporter who had interviewed him, wanting to speak about an article he had written in 1995 - a News of the World expose on the daughter of the actor Denholm Elliott (Indiana Jones films, Trading Places, Room With a View etc.):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b012bxf8 (about 12 minutes 50 seconds into broadcast)

McMullan: "There was no wrongdoing here at all. There was just someone who had fallen on hard times and actually was very fragile."

Paul McMullan's story about Jennifer Elliott alleged she was begging outside a London Tube station, and was working on occasions as a prostitute. Mr. McMullan told me the paper had acted on information it received as a result of a payment one of his colleagues made to a police officer.

McM: "The going rate for that kind of thing might have been two to five hundred pounds, and that would have been authorised, and he would have been paid, and that's one policeman kept happy, and he would have been on the lookout for another story, because, you know, money is money."

"Do you know for sure that this story came from a policeman? Do you know for sure that he was paid for the information?"

McM: "Yes, that's what I was told. I was put on the story, saying 'this has come from a policeman who has told us that this is really the person, go and find her'".

The reason why Paul McMullan was particularly concerned about this story, and why it was playing on his conscience is because of what happened next:

McM: "There was a few stories about her over the coming years about how she was still struggling with drugs and then I remember the last one, which was reporting on her suicide, and ... err ... yep."

"She took her own life?"

McM: "She did, yeah."

"Do you think what you wrote had any effect on that? Do you think that decision had anything to do with what you wrote and what you did?"

McM: "Yeah, I'd totally humiliated and destroyed her. It wasn't necessary. She didn't deserve it. She was having a bad time after her own dad had died, and, yeah, I went a step too far. And it was based on, now, a criminal act, so you've got to question in some cases, criminal acts perpetrated by journalists aren't always justified and in this case it was not. Not only was it not justified ,it was downright wrong - I sincerely regret it, and again, if there was anyone to apologise to, I would, but they're all dead - mother's dead, she's dead, father's dead. So in any way seeking atonement, I can at least say in this case we were wrong."


News International and the News of the World refused comment.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Dear God.
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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. how sad.
:(

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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. Incredibly heartless bastard. Didn't he feel anything for that
poor young woman who was messed up and down-and-out? Why couldn't he have swatted away the dollar signs for one minute to look at her, her past, her heartache, her potential? Instead he exploited her misery for a few bucks. Shame on him.
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Journeyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. Oliver Sipple. . .
lest anyone think this behavior restricted to any one news corporation or country, or that the object of unwarranted scrutiny need necessarily be someone involved in seedy behavior.
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
5. What kind of people do this?
She was a private citizen, she wasn't a public person, a politician, what good could be done by destroying her?

It's like a game, who will we choose to destroy today?
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CaliforniaHiker Donating Member (44 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
6. Very sad
The exploitation of a fragile young woman just because her father was once famous. This is the sort of thing that gives journalism a bad name.
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Maccagirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. What the News of the World practices
Edited on Thu Jul-07-11 01:21 PM by Maccagirl
is not journalism.
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pennylane100 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. apparently, the Daily Mail was also involved.
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mazzarro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
9. Can anyone say that Murdoch's news empire is not using the same method all over?
I have a nagging suspicion that the same method (i.e. paying the cops for information) is practiced in all the media outlets the world over!
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