A soldier who was wrongly identified as her non-identical twin sister who was tried over the death of a seven-year-old girl has received a public apology at the High Court.
Lance Bombardier Kerry-Ann Morris, who has been the face of the Army Equality and Diversity campaign and represents the Army in athletics, brought libel proceedings over an article published on the Nottingham Post’s website in June last year.
Her solicitor, Persephone Bridgman Baker, said it concerned the death of Morris’s niece, Shanay Walker, at the home of Kay-Ann Morris, her non-identical twin sister.
Kay-Ann Morris and L/Bdr Morris’s mother were convicted of child cruelty and L/Bdr Morris attended court during the trial in April 2015 to give evidence for the prosecution.
The article was illustrated by a number of photos, including one of L/Bdr Morris outside court, which incorrectly identified her as her twin sister against whom she was testifying that day.
Bridgman Baker told Mr Justice Warby in London: “The meaning of the combined article and photograph is that the claimant was tried for murder of a young child in her care and convicted of cruelty to that child.
“The article caused the claimant very considerable upset; and she says the stress it caused also had a knock-on effect on her ability to work and train to the best of her abilities.
“There is, of course, no truth in these allegations. The claimant is an upstanding citizen serving her country in the British Army.
“The claimant has been stationed in Germany since 2012 and had no part in the abuse of Shanay Walker. The claimant was a key prosecution witness in the criminal trial of her twin sister and mother.”
Bridgman Baker said publisher Local World Limited (part of Trinity Mirror) acknowledged its mistake and removed the incorrect photograph from its website. It then made an unqualified offer of amends and published an agreed apology online.
It also offered L/Bdr Morris compensation, which had now been agreed, for the considerable reputational harm, distress and hurt caused to her.
Greg Callus, counsel for Local World, repeated its apology to L/Bdr Morris for the distress and hurt caused.