Thursday, 30 September 2010

Chris Wheal: 'BBC wouldn't leave my sister alone'

Journalist Chris Wheal who has blogged about the way journalists have "death knocked" his relatives after his nine-year-old nephew Jamie Bray was killed in a freak accident playing on a swing, today criticises the behaviour of the BBC, news agencies and magazines as the boy's inquest was held.

Chris writes: "The coroner yesterday ruled that my nine-year-old nephew, Jamie Bray’s death was an accident. Despite repeated requests to the press to leave my sister alone she had a BBC film crew using telephoto lenses at the end of her drive and tittle-tattle magazines and agencies contacted her."

He asks: "The Press Complaints Commission is rewriting its guidance and looking at its procedures. But will that be enough? One of the callers this morning was from Full House magazine, which chooses not to subscribe to the PCC editors’ code anyway. Self-regulation fails when the press can opt out."

Chris says the coroner was very supportive and praises the detailed report by PA which noted: "Recording a verdict of accidental death, Deputy Central Hampshire Coroner Simon Burge said the tragedy could not have been either avoided or anticipated. The father-of-three said that, in times where children were often “mollycoddled”, James’s parents should be “applauded for making provision for a healthy, physically challenging life” and they should not feel responsible for his death. Children have to be allowed to grow and develop and be allowed to have some unsupervised play,” he said."

Chris adds: "Once the coroner had listed the inquest – last Friday – the local press was on the case. In the main they contacted me. The PCC issued a request to that effect."

But he is scathing about other journalists: "The public sees most of us as the gutter press. But there is a group even worse. They must be in the sewers. They are the sorts of low-lifes who make their parasitical living buying and selling people’s sorrowful stories."

Chris also says how disappointed he was at the BBC after agreeing to give them an interview: "I felt the BBC went behind my back. I felt they must have realised that standing at the end of the street feels as much like harassment as knocking on doors. I’d like to think they do at least realise that now. Had I known they were going to harass my sister anyway I would have tried to stop them. I doubt I’d have agreed to do the interview."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How hypocritical!!!
For the last three months you yourself have made a handsome living out of courting the media and publishing PRIVATE family information, which your blog says is totally against your family's desires.
Perhaps if you had the integrity and ability to fulfill your ambition to be a top journo you wouldn't need to keep raking over the past in order to keep your name in the spotlight.