Sun denies breaching Code to secure bomber exclusive

By Jean Morgan

The Sun has scoffed at reports that it paid as much as £30,000 for
its world exclusive interview with the wife of 7/7 suicide bomber
Jermaine Lindsay.

“Absolute cobblers,” said managing editor Graham Dudman, who also
denied that any payment to Samantha Lewthwaite would breach Editors’
Code guidance on payments to families of criminals.

“We are
completely confident we have acted within the Code,” said Dudman, who
is nevertheless cock-ahoop The Sun clinched its interview with
Lewthwaite despite intense bidding competition from rivals.

“As with most great scoops, it was a fantastic piece of old-fashioned tenacity that paid off,” he told Press Gazette.

He
describes the paper’s approach to Lewthwaite, who had just given birth
to Lindsay’s second child, as “a very long, gentle, but persistent
piece of work”.

The paper was lucky enough to have a journalist on its staff who had connections with a member of Lewthwaite’s family.

“At
the time, the world and his wife was trying to get an interview with
the family. Some papers had 12 journalists up there trying to find her,
so some of the criticism we are getting from other papers now does make
us laugh,” he explained.

“We struck up a relationship with the
intermediary. Jamie Pyatt, our Thames Valley reporter, kept going back
very gently, having face-to-face meetings with the intermediary and
built up trust.

“It was just perseverance on Jamie’sbehalf that
finally came together last week. The interview was agreed in the
morning and Jamie sat down and did it that day.”

West Country photographer Marc Giddings took photographs of 21-yearold Lewthwaite with her new daughter Ruqayyah.

At
the same time, The Sun hired a video crew to film Lewthwaite. The video
tape was sent to TV stations for use last Friday morning, including the
BBC, Sky, GMTV and ITN, to ensure maximum publicity as the paper
launched its two-day exclusive. AP and Reuters picked up the story.

Lindsay
was named as the bomber who blew up himself and 26 travellers on the
tube between King’s Cross and Russell Square. Lewthwaite had been moved
immediately after Lindsay’s identification to a safe house by
anti-terrorist police.

She left it to go into hospital for Ruqayyah’s birth 15 days before The Sun secured the interview.

She told Pyatt she had never suspected her husband and “totally abhorred” what he had done.

She
had thrown him out of the house on the night before his mission. She
suspected him of having an affair after he completely changed following
visits to mosques in London and Luton. But she said she heard him
return to kiss their 17-month-old son, Abdullah, goodbye.

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