Reading Chronicle rapped for suicide reporting

The Press Complaints Commission has upheld a complaint against the Reading Chronicle after it published a story containing excessive detail about the method of a suicide.

Mr and Mrs Marsh of Caversham complained to the PCC over an article published in the paper on 15 January headlined ‘Lucy was a ‘soul in torment'”.

It reported the suicide of the complainants’ daughter – who had taken her own life by eating poisonous leaves.

The newspaper argued that it had taken care to remove a reference to how the leaves were prepared – which it said was the detail which could have led to copy-cat suicides.

But in a ruling today the PCC said: ‘The information in the piece included the type of leaf used; how the deceased found out about it; the fact there was no antidote; and a reference to the speed of the process.

‘Taken together, the commission was concerned that this information may have been sufficient to spell out to others how to carry out such a suicide.’

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