Mirror sacking payouts top £2m after Kelly settlement

Kelly: £400,000 payout expected

The Daily Mirror is facing a bill of more than £2million for sacking senior journalists in the wake of the Iraq torture pictures affair.

Former deputy editor Des Kelly this week withdrew his threat of taking parent company Trinity Mirror to an industrial tribunal after agreeing a severance payout expected to total £400,000.

It is thought to include share options, lost pay from his rolling yearlong contract and other damages.

The latest payment follows the estimated £1.7million made to editor Piers Morgan in August. He was sacked after Mirror pictures purporting to show soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners were denounced as fakes by members of the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.

Kelly was acting editor of the Mirror for more than a month after Morgan’s sacking, but lost his job on 17 June when Richard Wallace was named as the new editor.

According to one insider, Kelly went because management wanted someone more “amenable” to the changes they had planned for the Mirror.

In the case of both Kelly and Morgan the size of the payouts are thought to reflect the fact Trinity Mirror did not go through a formal disciplinary procedure before sacking them.

 Former Sunday Times chief political correspondent Eben Black is taking News International to an employment tribunal, alleging unfair dismissal.

Black left the paper in February following friction between him and political editor David Cracknell. After he left the paper a News International source was quoted as saying he did not bring in enough scoops.

He responded by saying: “The kind of re-heated political cuttings job which they seem to like leading the Sunday Times on is not my idea of an exclusive.”

Black could seek a maximum tribunal payout of £55,000 and then pursue the matter further through the civil courts. He said he was sacked for “gross misconduct” after declining the job of defence correspondent, which he said would have been a demotion.

By Dominic Ponsford

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