11. British journalism's greatest ever scoops: The Real McKinney (Daily Mirror, 1978)

In 1978 the Daily Mirror bagged a series of scoops centred around the story of American Joyce McKinney, who came to Britain in pursuit of the love of her life, a Mormon missionary, and ended up kidnapping him and chaining him to a bed.

Reporter Barry Wigmore told Press Gazette: “After a couple of initial cock-ups, Mirror news editor Alan Shillum assigned me to work on the story with Roger Beam.  We started breaking stories about this over-the-top character.  Things got even better when she jumped bail and fled back to the USA, and we revealed that she did it dressed as a nun.  Then we tracked down some bent minicab drivers she’d hired for the kidnapping. Paydirt!

“One of them told me he knew where there were nude pictures of Joyce.  They were with a guy in LA.  With dreams of a trip to California, Beam and I told Shillum.  But we didn’t know that Kent Gavin and Frank Palmer were already out there on a secret-squirrel story.  I had to pass on the info to them.”

For this scoop Barry Wigmore, Roger Beam, Frank Palmer, Tony Delano and photographer Kent Gavin were jointly named reporter of the year.



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