Burrells Di sex boast story complaint upheld

November 30th, 2008 - 4:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Princess Diana

London, Nov 30 (ANI): A complaint made by former royal butler Paul Burrell over a tabloid story that claimed he boasted of having sex with Princess Diana has been upheld, it has emerged.

The News of the World’’s failure to include Burrell’’s denial could have misled readers, according to the Press Complaints Commission ruling.

The complaint referred to the newspaper’’s front-page splash, headlined: “Burrell: I had sex with Diana”, reports the Daily Express.

The story centred on claims by Ron Cosgrove, Burrell’’s brother-in-law, that the former butler confided the secret to him in a pub in 1993.

The commission said: “The claims about him were significant and substantial, and published with great prominence. The information came from the recollection of a 15-year-old conversation, and was not corroborated on the record by anyone outside Mr Cosgrove’’s immediate family. It was clear to the Commission in these circumstances that there was a strong likelihood that the omission of any denial from Mr Burrell may have misled readers into believing that he accepted Mr Cosgrove’’s allegations.”

It added that while there has “never been an absolute requirement for newspapers to contact those who are about to feature in articles”, a failure to so “may constitute a lack of care”.

The News of the World said it had three sources for the story, former associate of Burrell, Mr Cosgrove and his son Stephen, all of whom had signed affidavits supporting their comments.

The newspaper said it had not approached Burrell prior to publication for fear he would block the story with an injunction.

The News of the World said it had failed to publish Burrell’’s denial after the story appeared because he was “a notorious liar” - as branded by the judge at the Diana inquest.

However, the commission said in its ruling that it “has never said that people have no right ever to comment on a story, or to be offered a right of reply, if they have misled people in another context”. (ANI)

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