BBC breached Ofcom code by broadcasting 'highly distressing' 999 call from woman moments before her murder

The BBC has been criticised for breaching the broadcasting code after a recording of a "highly distressing" 999 call made by a woman moments before she was murdered was played before the watershed.

Viewers heard the call, made by Lucy Lee shortly before she was shot dead by her mother's partner at a puppy breeding farm, when it was played on the 1pm and 6pm news bulletins.

In the call, Lee was heard telling police: "I'm running for my life" before saying: "I don't know if he's going to shoot me … I don't know if I'm going to be alive if I go back in there."

The BBC told communications watchdog Ofcom that the "disturbing recording" was "integral to understanding the events of that day" but admitted it should have done more to warn viewers what they were about to hear.

Ofcom said the call, which "represented the last traumatic moments of Ms Lee's life before her murder", had the "clear potential to disturb viewers".

Its spokesman said: "Following a careful investigation, Ofcom found BBC1 News breached broadcasting rules in a report on the 'puppy farm murders' trial.

"The report included a recording a highly distressing 999 call, made by one of the murder victims, which was aired before the watershed and without a warning to viewers. We also ruled the offence caused by this recording was not justified by the context it was presented in."

Dog breeder John Lowe, 82, was jailed for at least 25 years for shooting Lee and her mother his shotgun at his home near Farnham, Surrey, in February last year.

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