Samaritans 'appalled' by suicide press coverage

Anita Pati

Samaritans has lodged a formal complaint with the Press Complaints Commission after two newspapers carried graphic images of the apparent suicide of a 52-year-old woman last week.

The complaint letter accuses the London Evening Standard and The Times of breaching long-standing media guidelines by sensationalising the suicide of a successful lawyer, Katherine Ward, who jumped to her death last Tuesday in Kensington, west London.

Samaritans guidance says press coverage of suicide should be "discreet and sensitive", and should "avoid the use of dramatic images related to suicide". The charity is dismayed that this has apparently been ignored.

David King, chief executive of Samaritans, said in the letter he was "dismayed and appalled by the gratuitously distressing coverage". The Times, which received 40 complaints, apologised for any distress caused but said the decision was taken after careful consideration.

A spokesman for Samaritans said friends of Katherine Ward had thanked the charity for its complaint.

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