Lloyd: questions about his death
The row between ITN and the Daily Mirror over the newspaper’s story about the death of ITV News reporter Terry Lloyd subsided this week after the news broadcaster conceded it should have been clearer about its objections to the piece.
The Mirror published details of an Iraqi witness who claimed Lloyd was killed by gunfire from a US helicopter gunship, rather than from crossfire between Iraq and US soldiers, which was the view given by ITN.
ITN dismissed the story at first, but later said it only objected to the suggestion by the Mirror story that Lloyd had been “walking and talking” in between his initial wounding and the time he was taken to hospital by the witness, Hamid Aglan.
Mirror editor Piers Morgan said he was “very bemused” by ITN’s “extraordinary rebuttal” of the paper’s story because of the co-operation between the two organisations on what was to be published, and when.
“What was very bizarre about it was that you then saw the e-mail from [ITN chairman and editor-in-chief] Mark Wood to his own staff after we published in effect confirming the story. So we were rather bemused.”
Wood’s e-mail was the first time the broadcaster had confirmed details of the minibus and the helicopter. It also spoke of its demand to the US military “for a comprehensive explanation of the course of events and the reason the minibus came under US fire”.
Wood said: “Most of what they had written is perfectly accurate and they picked up key elements and are raising legitimate questions. I think we should have been a bit clearer about what we were rebutting and said more clearly that there were elements of the story that we thought were inaccurate, whereas the thrust of the story was fine. We probably didn’t get that right.”
He continued: “The only concern we had was around elements suggesting that Terry had only been lightly injured and was conscious and chattering before he was put in a minibus and shot by the Americans. “It implied a period of suffering for Terry and a period of consciousness, which was distressing for his family and his colleagues. That was what it was all about.”
Press Gazette disclosed details of tapes in the possession of Abu Dhabi TV – due to be broadcast this week – purporting to feature a witness discussing the helicopter with Saddam Hussein.
By Wale Azeez