The Southern Daily Echo in Southampton has published a frontpage apology after printing the wrong picture alongside a story about a murder victim.
The story, about teenager Daniel Loader, who had been murdered trying to break up a fight, was accompanied by a picture of Richard Bowler, who died from a brain haemorrhage four years ago.
Echo editor Ian Murray said the picture of Bowler looked “remarkably” like that of the murder victim.
No copies of the first edition were recalled, but the paper hastened the arrival of the corrected second edition in newsagents where family and friends of the two boys live.
Murray informed both mothers immediately after realising the mistake, to ensure they didn’t see the picture in the paper first.
The Echo arranged for flowers to be sent to the mothers, who were assured assurances that the error would not be repeated.
Murray said: “It was an unfortunate clerical error that slipped through the quite stringent checks that we’ve got.
The boys in the two photographs looked remarkably alike. It’s one of those extremely unfortunate things and as soon as we realised we had
done it, we took steps to ensure it was changed for the second edition.
“We felt it was important that we got to the mothers as quickly as possible and told them about the error. They were very understanding, although obviously unhappy.
“Too often newspapers are accused of burying away an apology. This was an error on the front page and therefore I was determined we would acknowledge that on the front page.” “Where we continued our coverage on the murder trial inside, we ran a full explanation and apology which ran in all of our editions. Newspapers are very quick to point the finger at others who make errors in public life, so I believe it is important that when we make an error that we acknowledge it, apologise and move on, ensuring internally that it never happens again.”