Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Inquest Report

Sitting through the inquest was painful enough, as we had expected, but there were also reporters present from the Bradford Telegraph and Argos. We were told they had a right to be there but we would really have preferred that they didn't. The following day, Claire rang me to say that the report was on the paper's online website and in the paper too, of course.
This is it, but the headline was "Depressed soldier killed himself in fear of Afghanistan tour" which we were not at all happy about as it had been made quite clear by the evidence of his friends who had spoken to him that evening that it was his personal problems that had been the last straw for him. So Claire and I both rang the newspaper to complain and to point out that Hugh had seen action, not only in Bosnia and Kosovo, but also three times in Iraq and furthermore, had volunteered for Aghanistan and for the bomb detection training.
At first we had little joy, but finally we were able, separately, to speak to the deputy editor, who seemed a little more sympathetic and agreed to change the leadline on the website and  publish an apology, which he did:

Corporal Hugh Cunningham

"In a report in Wednesday’s Telegraph & Argus regarding an inquest into the death of Corporal Hugh Cunningham we stated in a headline “Soldier took own life in fear of Afghan tour”. The family of Cpl Cunningham have asked us to point out that while the coroner acknowledged Cpl Cunningham was said not to be looking forward to serving in Afghanistan, there was a good deal of evidence to suggest that factors in his personal life and depression stemming from post traumatic stress disorder diagnosed after his service in Kosovo were predominant factors in the decision to take his own life. We apologise to Cpl Cunningham’s family if our headline caused them any distress or embarrassment."
Only a fool would be going into a situation like Afghanistan without some degree of trepidation, but that is a long way from the implication of that headline, so I feel that at least we were able to lessen the damage to some extent and that gives us some small degree of comfort.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Well done for causing them to alter their language and handle your legitimate complaint sympathetically.

Jennyta said...

Thanks, YP. It was something we felt we needed to do.

Dan.Eliot said...

Thanks, we learn something from your experience...


WendyCarole said...

So glad to see that you got the TA to change their wording.

Jennyta said...

Yes, WendyCarole. We had to be very persistent though.

Katy Ginty said...

Hello Jenny it's Katy Johnson, Pauline's daughter from HR. hope you don't mind me commenting but I just want you to know that I have been thinking of you over the last couple of years, I've got some lovely memories of Hugh. Hope you are keeping as well as can be x x x

Carol in Cairns said...


Having a read of your main blog, I ventured over here to read your diary about your son. I am sorry for your loss. There is nothing I can say really, but thought you might find some comfort in a story of another Far Nirth Queensland family who lost their son in Afghanistan.

The Avenue of Honour was opened this weekend just past and I will visit over the school holidays and be writing about it at some point.

Again, my sympathies to you and your family on your own personal loss, and your courage to share your story.