Observer comes clean over Maddy blunder

The MirrorAxegrinder can only applaud The Observer for holding its hand up after mistakenly telling the world that “traces” of Madeleine McCann’s body were found on a Portuguese beach.

The Observer wasn’t the only paper to be taken in by the somewhat far-fetched claim of former policeman Danie Krugel that he could trace the missing child using a combination of her DNA sample and a GPS device.

The story made the splash in the Sunday Mirror (pictured) and was also reported in the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, The Sun, The People and the News of the World. But the Observer gave the story particular credence.

Observer readers’ editor Stephen Pritchard admitted this week: “The piece should not have turned Krugel’s supposed findings into concrete fact and should also have included a considerable amount of critical comment about his methods and ability ‒ points that could also have been picked up in the editing process.

“It is also disappointing that this appeared in the newspaper that was first to discount the wilder DNA theories that swirled around the Madeleine inquiry last month, theories that are now largely discredited.”

Hear, hear.

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