Paul Lewis wins Rat Up a Drainpipe Award

Guardian journalist Paul Lewis has won this year’s Rat Up a Drainpipe Award for his series of stories about the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in London.

Independent editor Roger Alton presented Lewis with the award at the Society of Editors’ conference, at Stansted, Essex, last night.

Alton said: “He [Lewis] broke the story around Ian Tomlinson, who died during the disturbances around the G20. He revealed that he was struck from behind by a police baton and throw to the ground, despite earlier police denial, with a complete absence of provocation.

“This journalist uncovered the truth by doing what too few people do now, which is persistently questioning and challenging the official account. He talked to the family, he garnered eyewitness evidence.

“Finally, he go incontrovertible video evidence…but he’d pushed the story until he established what really happened.

“As a result of this story there were internal and independent inquiries, there was extensive comment both here and abroad and what has happened as a result is that the police have changed the way they behave in those situations when they take on and investigate complaints.

“It was an extraordinary story…it was a remarkable expose about police conduct.”

The Rat Up a Drainpipe trophy is awarded in memory of Tony Bevins, the first political editor of The Independent, who died in 2001 after a short illness.

Bevins was famous for causing mischief in both the political and journalism world, and this is where the award takes its name.

Lewis said: “Ian Tomlinson was a newspaper vendor, just trying to walk home, and I think I’m not betraying any court proceedings to say he shouldn’t have died that night.

“I’m glad to have played a part in exposing what happened to him.”

Lewis is the second winner of the prize. The first award was won by Times reporter Deborah Haynes for her coverage of Iraqi interpreters facing persecution.

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