Stockport reporter's exclusive down to good police relations

Police reporter Robert Bottomley’s excellent working relationship with his local force landed him an exclusive for the Stockport Express & Times.

Bottomley was the only reporter granted an interview by a husband who found his wife, a nurse, had killed their two children and then fatally injected herself with drugs stolen from work.

Bottomley spent over an hour interviewing Frank Crowther whose Malaysian-born wife, Yew Chein, killed her two children and then herself in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, last November. The interview was brokered by Stockport police and no money changed hands.

Crowther had steadfastly refused to give any other interviews saying he was "angry and hurt" by coverage of the tragedy by regional and national media.

Crowther told Bottomley: "If newspapers cannot tell the truth, they should not say anything. Even the most basic facts were wrong, which to my mind means they made it up. They put out what they thought would sell newspapers.

"I know that newspapers are there to report what happens, but surely there’s got to be some compassion?"

Speaking at the inquest into the deaths, held the day after Bottomley’s coup, Det Chief Inspector Kenny Caldwell said: "We were particularly concerned with the obvious sensitivities of this case.

"We asked the press not to publish any details of the deaths until family and friends had been informed. Some members of the press reneged on that.

"It was our job to protect this family and what happened did not help, but hindered us."

Bottomley’s interview made a two-page, in-depth analysis of the tragedy for this week’s Stockport Express while a shorter version of the interview was given to PA for distribution to regional and national media.

by Jean Morgan

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