Star apologises for confusing sex offender with politician

By Sarah Lagan

The
Evening Star in Ipswich had to print a front-page apology after
mistakenly using a Conservative county councillor’s photograph on a
front-page story about a convicted paedophile.

The saga began on 1 December when the paper splashed on a story
which named and shamed Suffolk Tory councillor Steve Hudson after he
received a 28-month ban for drink-driving.

Less than a week later
the Star’s front page was about former schoolteacher Christopher Fuller
being put on a sex offenders’ list for five years after he admitting
taking indecent pictures of a naked toddler.

However, the story
ran with the picture of Hudson used on the earlier story, this time
under the headline “Pervert in plea for help”. Both men have grey hair
and wear glasses.

As soon as journalists on the paper realised
the mistake they called back as many copies of the paper from the vans
that had gone out and rang as many newsagents as they could to ask them
not to sell them.

The main final edition was not distributed and
the paper was reprinted with the offending picture taken out, which
carried an apology and correction.

The paper contacted Councillor Hudson to inform him of their mistake and on the following day it published a front-page apology.

As
far as deputy editor Mike Pennock is aware, Hudson has accepted the
apology and agreed that the paper’s actions were satisfactory.

Pennock said: “Mistakes sometimes do happen despite our best endeavors, but human error can never be ruled out.

How you deal with those mistakes when they do happen can go a long way to mitigating any further problems.

“We held our hands up and tried to deal with it as quickly and professionally as we could and contacted the councillor.”

Great
Yarmouth man David Gazely received a £50,000 payout from The Sun after
he was wrongly identified as a paedophile in a news agency picture.

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