Stories from 2008:

The truth about a concocted story

Published November 2008.

The Guardian, November 2008
When the Jersey police this week confessed that – contrary to so many ghoulish news stories – they have, in truth, no evidence of children being murdered and buried in an old children’s home on the island, they laid the blame at their own door. That tells only part of the story.
The [...]

How the police failed to investigate a judge

Published September 2008.

The Guardian, September 2008
Police have been ordered to review their handling of the case of a judge accused of sexually abusing young children after claims that they failed adequately to investigate him because he was a friend of the chief constable.
The judge, who for legal reasons can be named only as Judge X, has been [...]

The dark truth behind a vicious attack

Published July 2008.

The Guardian, July 2008
It was just before midnight when the first police officer hit Mark Covell, swiping his truncheon down on his left shoulder. Covell did his best to yell out in Italian that he was a journalist but, within seconds, he was surrounded by riot-squad officers thrashing him with their sticks. For a while, [...]

Murder is easy (if you kill the right people)

Published June 2008.

The Guardian
June 2008
When finally they caught him, it was a fluke. He had parked his lorry outside a football stadium in a small town in north-eastern Spain and he was waiting for dark to throw away the body of his latest victim. By sheer chance, a technician was installing a CCTV camera on the wall [...]

The people who may save newspapers

Published May 2008.

Guardian blog, May 2008
Two things happened today. First, Media Guardian published a poll showing that, over the last five years, trust in broadsheet journalists has fallen by 22%; in local journalists by 20%; and in mid-market journalists by 18%. The only journalists whose trust rating has not plummeted are those working for the red-tops – [...]

Concocting a horror story

Published May 2008.

The Guardian, May 2008
Anybody who has been plugged into the news over the past few months could be forgiven for believing that police searching a former care home in Jersey have already found evidence of children being murdered. This belief could have been encouraged by headlines such as: ” ‘Six or more’ bodies at Jersey [...]

Introducing Flat Earth News

Published February 2008.

The Guardian, February 2008
Here’s a little example of what I call Flat Earth News. In June 2005, Fleet Street told its readers about a gang of feral child bullies who had attempted to murder a five-year-old boy by hanging him from a tree; the boy had managed to free himself. This story was not true. [...]

Failure at the Police Complaints Commission

Published February 2008.

The Guardian, February 2008
The IPCC: a catalogue of delays, rejections and basic failures
In an investigation into the body that examines complaints against the police, Nick Davies uncovers a series of disturbing inadequacies
One night in May 2000 Christine Hurst was woken up by a phone call at her home in Hertfordshire and learned that her son, [...]

Lawyers expose the police complaints commission

Published February 2008.

The Guardian, February 2008
The Independent Police Complaints Commission faces a crisis of confidence after a network of more than a hundred lawyers who specialise in handling police complaints resigned en masse from the commission’s advisory body.
In a strongly-worded letter to the IPCC’s chairman, Nick Hardwick, the lawyers expressed their “increasing dismay and disillusionment” at what [...]

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