Lloyd: first ITN reporter to be killed on assignment in its 48-year history
The vulnerability of journalists reporting from war zones was brought into sharp relief following the death in Iraq of Terry Lloyd, ITV News’s most experienced reporter.
Broadcasters are now monitoring the safety of their staff “hour by hour”, as they try to ensure their well-being during the conflict.
Lloyd, 50, was killed amid confusion that led to his team of two vehicles being fired upon by coalition forces, after Iraqi soldiers pulled up alongside the crew. According to ITN, there is independent evidence that it was US troops who fired at the vehicles.
Lloyd and ITN cameraman Daniel Demoustier were travelling towards Basra to cover the coalition forces’ advance on Iraq’s second city. They were accompanied by Belgian cameraman Fred Nerac and Hussein Osman, a Lebanese interpreter in another vehicle, both since declared missing.
Demoustier escaped from the vehicle before it exploded from the gunfire. He was rescued an hour later by Mail on Sunday journalist Barbara Jones.
Lloyd was initially set to be embedded with the armed forces, but it was thought that his experience of hostile environments, particularly of the last Gulf War, would be best harnessed as a roving reporter.
Fatefully it was in Iraq – where Lloyd was the first journalist to report on Saddam Hussein’s chemical attack on Iraqi Kurds at Hilabja in 1988 – that he was to lose his life. He is the first ITN reporter to be killed on assignment in the broadcaster’s 48-year history.
ITN has since suspended its reporting teams in southern Iraq and said its priorities are to try to recover Lloyd’s body from Basra hospital, which was under the control of the Iraqi authorities, and redouble efforts to locate Nerac and Osman, with other media organisations.
Lloyd had initially been declared missing, but journalists from broadcaster Al-Jazeera helped ITN identify his body while filming in the hospital. After Lloyd’s death was confirmed, Stewart Purvis, ITN’s editor-in-chief, explained the sequence of events that led up to the fatality.
“Suddenly they [Lloyd and his colleagues] see Iraqi soldiers in the road, they do the safe thing, they turn round and start going back the other way. Then they look in the mirror and see that behind them there are two Iraqi vehicles. So you’ve got four vehicles all going in a line in the same direction. Two ITN vehicles clearly marked ‘TV’ and two Iraqi vehicles – one with Iraqi soldiers in it.
“At that point, someone in the coalition forces – we think American military – thinks that there are four cars together and because there are Iraqi soldiers in one of them, opens fire on all four of them. And that seems to be the cause of the tragedy.” Lloyd recently celebrated his 20th year at ITN, having joined from Central Television in 1983.
ITV presenter Sir Trevor MacDonald called Lloyd “one of the most likeable persons I have ever met. Everybody liked him and he liked people. He had a passion for the job and getting the job done.”
lIn a separate incident in northern Iraq, Australian cameraman Paul Moran from ABC was killed and two other journalists injured after a car bomb exploded.
BRITISH JOURNALISTS KILLED COVERING WAR
1995 John Schofield, BBC. Shot by Croat forces in Croatia.
1993 Dan Eldon, Reuters. Beaten and stoned in Somalia.
1992 Paul Jenks, European Press-Photo Agency. Shot by Croat sniper in Croatia.
1991 Charles Maxwell, BBC. Shot in Iraq.
1991 Rosanna Della Casa, BBC. Missing, presumed dead in Iraq.
1991 Nicholas Della Casa, BBC. Shot in Iraq.
1989 David Blundy, The Sunday Correspondent. El Salvador.
1981 Sean Toolan, The Observer. Stabbed and shot in Lebanon.
1978 Richard Valentine Cecil, freelance. Killed in Rhodesia.
1977 David Shipley Holden, The Sunday Times. Shot in Egypt.
1973 Nicholas Tomalin, The Sunday Times. Yom Kippur war.
1968 Ronald B Laramy, Reuters. Viet Cong ambush, Vietnam.
1950 Christopher Buckley, The Daily Telegraph. South Korea.
1950 Ian Morrison, The Times. Landmine in South Korea.
1945 Peter Lawless, The Daily Telegraph. Germany.
1944 Ian Fyfe, Daily Mirror. Disappeared in France on D-day.
1943 Alexander Berry Austin, Daily Herald. Italy.
1943 Kenneth Stonehouse, Reuters. Portugal.
1942 Jack Findon, Daily Express. Torpedoed off Sumatra.
1941 Alexander Massy Anderson, Reuters. Egypt.
By Wale Azeez