Leveson Report prints incorrect year in Cookstown murder case

Pam Surphlis (first on left).
Pam Surphlis (first on left).

THE UK’s biggest ever inquiry into press ethics has printed the incorrect year of a Cookstown double murder tragedy - under its section on ‘inaccurate reporting’.

The final recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry were revealed last Thursday, and called for a new independent press watchdog following the 2011 phone hacking scandal.

In its final report evidence from Cookstown woman Pam Surphlis, whose father and sister were brutally murdered in the town almost 20 years ago, was included.

Ms Surphlis appeared at the Leveson Inquiry in February to put forward a submission from charity Support after Murder and Manslaughter (Samm NI), which she is a director of.

According to page 486 of the 995 page report (Volume Two), the murder took place in 1993, when in fact the Drum Road tragedy happened a year before in 1992.

Ironically the mistake is printed under the heading of ‘Consequences of inaccurate reporting’, where Ms Surphlis describes the impact of “routine” misreporting on relatives of victims of murder and manslaughter.

She said it included family details, age and background of the victims, and overall sensationalising of the murders.

Speaking to the MAIL about the Leveson inaccuracy Ms Surphlis said: “I think this shows that even high up inquiries can get it wrong”

She added that although she had not had a chance to look at the report in its entirety, she was happy with the recommendations put forward by Lord Justice Leveson.

“I was accused at the time of trying to gag the press, but all I ever wanted was the media to think of the consequences of interacting with families,”she said.

“I still feel that a Press Ombudsman is very much needed.”