Former Daily Record chief reporter Gordon 'Porridge' Airs, who spent a night in jail to protect his source, dies aged 75

Former Daily Record chief reporter Gordon Airs, who spent a night in police cells to protect a source, has died aged 75.

According to his news editor, Malcolm Speed, Airs became "the 'gold standard' for reporters in 1975 when he was sent to the police cells by a High Court judge".

In a tribute to Airs, who was chief reporter on the title for nearly 25 years, Speed said: "He was giving evidence during  the trial of seven men accused of various offences including conspiring for the purposes of the Scottish Army of the Provisional Government of Scotland.

"He was asked  on several occasions about meeting someone from the Military Council of the APG and who that person was?

"He replied had given his word not to reveal details as it would be against his professional ethics."

Airs persisted in refusing to name his source despite the judge saying he "must" and other witnesses in court naming the source.

The obituary added: "The judge held that Gordon was in contempt of court and sent him to the cells. He was in the cells overnight and was released on bail the following day and thereafter his nickname was ‘Porridge’, both a mark of respect and affection."

According to the Record, Airs was later ordered to pay a £500 fine.

Airs retired early in 1994 and then "travelled extensively".

Speed said: "He was a top reporter who never regretted his High Court decision to protect his source although was revealed during the trial. He could be relied to successfully deal with the most difficult stories."

Anna Smith, another former Record chief reporter, said: "I grew up in newspapers, seeing his byline on almost every Record front page – expose after expose.

"When I joined the Record in 1980, journalists were respected figures, digging out stories and tearing down the walls of ­corruption to expose them … unfettered by the rules of today and the vicious sniping of the fakers and celebrities.

"Gordon chased a story with every fibre of his being, hooked into it and wouldn’t let it go."

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