Evening Mail reward leads to exclusive on gun deaths

Evening Mail: exclusive interview

Gun warfare on UK streets and a new law to jail anyone carrying a gun unlawfully have brought reaction from newspapers on the armed gangs’ frontline.

Prompt action by the Birmingham Evening Mail to offer a £5,000 reward for information on the killers of two teenage victims of the city’s gun battle has had a snowball effect. By this week, the total reward fund had reached £85,000; on Saturday the Daily Mail offered £25,000 and on Sunday the News of the World offered £50,000.

The Evening Mail, which had the first news of the shooting of Charlene Ellis and Latisha Shakespear during a New Year’s Eve party, promised the £5,000 to match a similar amount pledged by Victims of Crime for the capture and conviction of their killers.

"That produced quite a considerable response from the the Afro-Caribbean community and one of their leading councillors said it at last proved the Evening Mail cared about the whole community," said editor Roger Borrell.

The same councillor arranged for the paper to have an exclusive interview with the father of Charlene and her twin Sophie, who was injured in the shoot-out. The Evening Mail got the scoop against national newspapers offering money because it had put up the reward money.

Meanwhile, proposed tougher penalties for gun offences have been welcomed by the North London Newspapers Journal series, which in November ran a special issue on Haringey’s serious gun crime problem.

Group editor Tony Allcock said: "We are sure our readers will be very pleased the Home Secretary is going to make life tougher for those who use or carry firearms. If our special edition helped in some way to highlight problems and hasten Government action, we consider it a job well done."

lThe Advertising Standards Authority has ordered the Daily Sport to stop carrying advertisements for air guns which "glamorise the use of offensive weapons".

By Jean Morgan

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