Friday, 11 May 2012

Who Was Rebekah Brooks?

May 10 2012 01:43:22 PM

Phone-hacking scandal: Who is Rebekah Brooks?

"In 2000, she returned to the News of the World, this time in the top job, becoming the youngest-ever editor of a national British paper.

While editor of the weekly, Brooks argued for the creation of a U.S.-style "Sarah's Law," which would allow parents with young children to know about anyone convicted of child sex crimes [sic] living close to their homes.

As part of the controversial campaign, which was inspired by the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in July 2000, Brooks took the decision to name and shame offenders in the pages of her paper.

The lists sparked witch-hunts and riots, as communities across Britain tried to hound pedophiles [sic] out of their neighborhoods. It was condemned by police, but Brooks remains unrepentant.

In a 2009 speech, she admitted the campaign was "a blunt and contentious way of informing the public... hard lessons were learnt but I don't regret the campaign for one minute."" 

11/05/2012 09:53 Updated: 11/05/2012 09:53  

Rebekah Brooks 'No Stranger To Controversy'

"While editor of the News of the World, Mrs Brooks, nee Wade, launched a "naming and shaming" campaign identifying paedophiles [sic] following the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne.

"The campaign boosted the paper's circulation and eventually led to new legislation [sic] - known as Sarah's Law [sic] - but was blamed for sparking vigilantism and even thwarting police investigations.

Tony Butler, the then chief constable of Gloucestershire, dismissed the campaign as "grossly irresponsible" journalism."

11 May 2012

"Rebekah Brooks: Anti-paedophile [sic] campaign 'could have been done better'

"Brooks said: "We began a campaign of naming and shaming paedophiles [sic]. I accept that this could have been done better with more time, but I balance that with a need to highlight this issue while the readers were aware of the story.

Some people were included in the list that should not have been grouped with serious paedophiles [sic]. There were risks of vigilantism.

Yet, I had looked at the success [sic] of Megan's law in the United Staes, which was similar to the law that we were proposing, and in the case of Megan's law there were almost no examples of vigilantism [how would you have known? - OSC]."

Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 12:25 GMT

Whispering game

"... a female paediatrician consultant called Yvette Cloete was indeed labelled a "paedo" after a campaign by the News of the World to name and shame paedophiles [sic] in the community.

The incident took place in Newport, Gwent, not in Portsmouth (where there had been anti-paedophile [sic] protests [mob - OSC] after eight-year-old Sarah Payne was murdered).

Dr Cloete returned from work at the Royal Gwent Hospital to find "paedo" spray-painted on her front door. Local police believe the graffiti was written by someone who confused her job title with the word paedophile.

It was no doubt a very distressing incident for Ms Cloete, who decided to move home shortly afterwards. But there is no evidence that a mob was involved or of any threats or incidents of physical pressure or violence."



The TPP posted to the latter piece (rapidly taken down - screenshot available), as though it, somehow, dilutes or removes the thousands of vigilante attacks, harassments, mental torments and suicides, which have occurred, during and since, the Wade/Brooks debacle; as though they are of no consequence; do not worry, we have them archived.

Still, the TPP supports the, now defunct and discredited, News of The World and Rebekah Brooks - why would this be?

So, for the record ...


Sunday, 16 December, 2001, 09:10 GMT

A paper's controversial campaign


When the paper began its naming and shaming campaign in June 2000 after the death of Sarah Payne critics called it "irresponsible journalism" - and even "a vile and despicable act" - aimed at cashing in on the tragedy in order to boost circulation.

Although attacks on children by strangers are mercifully rare, there could have been few mums and dads who were not mesmerised by the horror of the Payne case, fearing that the same fate could befall their own children.

It was reported that the decision to go ahead with the original campaign came after extensive market research paid for by the News of the World showed overwhelming public support for the idea that parents should be given details of local paedophiles [sic].

Extra sales

Publicist Max Clifford, very much an insider at the News of the World, praised the paper's editor Rebekah Wade for her "shrewd" editorial judgement from "a circulation and readership point of view".

Parents queued up to buy copies of the paper - to find out if any of their neighbours were paedophiles [sic] and to sign a petition printed in the paper in favour of "Sarah's Law".

The News of the World sold 95,000 extra copies after a long period of decline following the launch of the campaign. The paper also used the list to help promote its then recently re-launched website.

But the campaign immediately ran into problems.

There were violent scenes throughout the country as local people formed vigilante-type mobs intent on driving men taken to be those pictured in the paper out of their neighbourhoods.

In Portsmouth 300 people attacked the home of a local taxi driver who had been named by the paper.

An innocent man, Iain Armstrong, was beaten up by a mob in Manchester after being mistaken for one of the pictured paedophiles [sic] - apparently because he wore a neck-brace which looked like one worn to the man in the News of the World's picture.

Mob justice

There was a similar case in Norwich, and a celebrated incident when an entirely innocent South Wales paediatrician was attacked after confusion over the meaning of the word.

In the Midlands police received messages from vigilante leaders threatening to drive suspected paedophiles [sic] from council estates warning that police stations would be attacked if officers got in the way of mob justice.

Amid what the Home Office called a "climate of fear and panic" in parts of the country, a named paedophile [sic], James White, committed suicide after a vigilante attack on his home. White's solicitor later said White had been "literally scared to death".

At the same time senior police officers asked the News of the World to call off its campaign because it was wrecking investigations, alerting paedophiles [sic] and forcing them "underground".

Gloucestershire chief Constable Tony Butler said the News of the World was engaged in "irresponsible journalism". 


There was also the danger of prejudicing juries and thus preventing offenders from being brought to justice.

In Manchester one paedophile [sic] walked free from court because, following the publication of his picture and address in the News of the World, the judge ruled that he - and innocent family members - had already suffered enough at the hands of mob justice.

The paper's editor, Rebekah Wade said at the time: "Our intention is not to provoke violence. The disturbing truth [sic] is that the authorities are failing to properly monitor the activities of paedophiles [sic] in the community [sic]."

Despite the warning, the News of the World published a second sell-out edition, naming a further 50 on the sex offenders register, devoting 10 pages to the subject and threatening to publish more "week after week after week" until the names were available to the general public."

Wednesday 30 August 2000 00.42 BST
Doctor driven out of home by vigilantes

"Special report: child protection

Self-styled vigilantes attacked the home of a hospital paediatrician after apparently confusing her professional title with the word "paedophile", it emerged yesterday.

Dr Yvette Cloete, a specialist registrar in paediatric medicine at the Royal Gwent hospital in Newport, was forced to flee her house after vandals daubed it with graffiti in the middle of the night. The word "paedo" was written across the front porch and door of the house she shared with her brother in the village of St Brides, south Wales.

Dr Cloete, 42, confirmed she had left the property after the "distressing" attack. "For the time being I have moved out of the area because when something like this happens you just cannot feel safe in your own home. "We removed the graffiti within hours, but what happened was terrible and it has been extremely distressing." 

Gwent police confirmed that the attack last Friday night was prompted by a confusion over the words "paedophile" and "paediatrician". Inspector Andrew Adams said: "It appears to be the case. We are still making inquiries. We want to stress in the strongest possible terms that there is nothing to justify what was written on the walls and door of Dr Cloete's home."

He said every effort was being made to find the people responsible for the attack. "These people should think long and hard about what they have done to a valuable member of the community, who has devoted her life to helping children. "We are concerned that some people in the local community have taken it upon themselves to do this, and would urge them to think about the consequences of their inaccurate and inappropriate actions."

Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK

Paediatrician attacks 'ignorant' vandals

12:00AM BST 03 Sep 2000

Paediatrician attack: 'People don't want no paedophiles here' 

"Residents of Pine Grove, a cul-de-sac of privately owned semis with neatly clipped front lawns, said they were sad that Dr Cloete would be leaving. "I remember her coming round to introduce herself when she arrived last year," said her next-door neighbour. "She was very nice, but I doubt we'll see her again now.""

Thursday 13 December 2001 15.16 GMT

Argument rages over Sarah's law

"Claiming to be "taking action for Sarah and for all the other little victims", it produced figures suggesting 88% of Britons believed parents should be told if a child sex offender was living in their area; a website on which parents could use an interactive map to find their local paedophiles; an appeal for readers to disclose if a convicted child abuser was living nearby; and the endorsement of Sarah's parents, Sara and Michael Payne, who later spoke of their unease at being pressganged into giving the campaign their support.

From Plymouth to Portsmouth, Manchester to London, wrongly identified men and known paedophiles [sic] found themselves being hounded by mobs up to 300-strong.

The vigilante action was most severe on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth, where protesters circulated a list of 20 alleged sex offenders in the community and proceeded to target them.

The crowds - 40 of whom were later charged with offences - smashed windows, torched cars and forced five families wrongly identified as harbouring sex offenders out of their homes. A suspected paedophile in nearby Southampton shot himself dead and a female registrar was hounded from her South Wales home because neighbours confused "paediatrician" with "paedophile."

As senior police officers warned that such action would end in murder, the News of the World called off its ambitious naming and shaming project, and called instead for "Sarah's Law'."

Sarah's law explained

"Vigilante groups, mainly composed of parents incensed at the idea of having convicted paedophiles [sic] living in their area, mounted angry protests outside the suspected sex offenders' houses. Two men accused of child sex offences committed suicide and four innocent families fled their homes in Portsmouth after gossip and rumour wrongly identified them as harbouring paedophiles. Violence flared in Plymouth and Whitely, Berkshire. Innocent men mistaken for paedophiles were targeted in London and Manchester."

Tuesday 6 February 2001

After the purge

"There'd been mutterings about Burnett since he'd moved in two years ago. But after he became one of the convicted child sex offenders "named and shamed" by the News of the World following the death of Sarah Payne, and after further coverage in the local press, the mutterings turned into howls of hate. Placards were brandished, missiles thrown and a police officer injured. At one point a woman, thought to have been Burnett's sister, came on the scene. Her car was turned over and torched." 
Tuesday 15 May 2012
A respectable riot against tabloid readers
"The other incident, ‘the Paul’s Grove riot’, was more serious. When mothers on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth discovered that a sex offender was living in a local flat, trouble ensued. The flat in question was attacked, others were damaged and the estate got caught up in several summer evenings of unrest, with TV cameras on hand to record women leading their children in a chorus of ‘Hang him!’."

Thursday 10 August 2000

Anti-paedophile demos stopped

"Anti-paedophile protests on a troubled housing estate were today suspended after a fifth family was driven out by the violence.

The family was moved into temporary council accommodation after a seventh night of angry protests on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth."

11 May 2012

A tale told too much - the paediatrician vigilantes

 "This piece appeared in Press Gazette magazine two years ago. We republish it here after the issue of a paediatrician wrongly being attacked in the wake of a 2000 News of the World campaign reared its head again at the Leveson Inquiry.

As this piece reveals [sic], a fairly minor graffiti incident [really? Dr Cloete did not think so] became the source of a pervasive urban myth [sic]. Ten years on it is time the strange tale of the paediatrician confused with a paedophile was finally put to bed, says Brendan O'Neill, who reported on the orginal story for the BBC

Ten years ago this month, persons unknown – probably teenage scallies [?] according to local police – daubed the word ˜Paedo' on the home of a paediatrician in Gwent in south Wales. They could never have known that their daft [daft?] antics would become one of the most hotly discussed, frequently revisited, distorted [odd, as it happened] and mythologised crimes of modern times." 



Of course, the painful irony, of this horrendous episode, in media history and UK society (if only it were history), is that Mr Whiting was (and is) not a Paedophile, nor would any such 'Law' have prevented the untimely and terrible death of Sarah Payne.


No comments:

Post a Comment