Metro and Mail Online have both taken down stories which reported claims made by man involved in a paternity suit without putting them to the mother involved.
The Mail Online article published on 21 March was headlined: “Former market trader, 49, claims he has PROVED he’s the father of a boy who will inherit £1 billion after a ‘six-year romance with the daughter of one of Luxembourg’s richest tycoons”.
The Metro.co.uk story published on 22 March said: “Man proves he’s the father of heir to a £1,000,000,000 fortune”.
Both titles are published out of the same newsroom.
The articles reported a man’s belief that, following a prolonged legal battle, he had managed to prove that he was the father of a child who was heir to a substantial fortune.
The mother of the child, who was not identified, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation saying the man’s claims were false and that neither Metro or the Mail had contacted her to verify the claims.
After initially rejecting the woman’s complaint, both titles have now – six months on – withdrawn the articles and published apologies to the woman and her family.
Because resolutions were mediated, IPSO did not make a finding as to whether the articles were in breach of the Editors’ Code, clause of one of which states that publishers must take not to publish inaccurate information.