Search

Daily Mirror to pay Highgate man ‘undisclosed fee’ for false rat story, as paper claims: ‘We were deceived’

08:00 16 April 2014

Adrian Whitaker holding the rat he caught and killed.

Adrian Whitaker holding the rat he caught and killed.

Archant

The Daily Mirror has paid a Highgate man an undisclosed fee to compensate for publishing a front page picture of him holding a giant rat and falsely claiming the image showed a pest controller in Liverpool.

Adrian Whitaker with a copy of the offending Daily Mirror. Picture: Polly Hancock.Adrian Whitaker with a copy of the offending Daily Mirror. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Software developer Adrian Whitaker, 35, reported the discovery of a 2ft rat at his home in Milton Park, Highgate, to the Ham&High last May, providing the newspaper with a shocking picture of him holding the giant rodent.

But on Monday, almost a year after the story was published in the Ham&High, the Daily Mirror ran a front page story about giant rats invading Liverpool and accompanied it with the photo of Mr Whitaker holding the Highgate rat.

The Mirror claimed the rat was caught in Liverpool and that the photo depicted pest controller Sean Whelan holding the dead animal.

It has since been established that the false story originated in the Sunday edition of the Liverpool Echo, owned by publisher Trinity Mirror plc, which also owns the Daily Mirror.

Adrian Whitaker and the dead rat appeared on the Liverpool Echo website.Adrian Whitaker and the dead rat appeared on the Liverpool Echo website.

Yesterday, a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool.

“It has since become clear that it was taken in another part of the country last year. We will be clarifying the position with our readers tomorrow.”

The Ham&High contacted Mr Whelan about the photograph purported to be of him holding the rat but the pest controller initially claimed it was “one of the guys that work for me” who “found it in an industrial unit in Liverpool”.

He later called the Ham&High back to insist the Liverpool Echo had “pulled” the image off Facebook of their own accord.

"We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool."

Trinity Mirror spokesman

Last night, Mr Whitaker received a phone call from Daily Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley apologising for the newspaper’s mistake and agreeing to pay the father-of-one an undisclosed fee to make up for the error.

Mr Whitaker told the Ham&High: “It just makes me realise how much more of this probably goes on in tabloids.

“I used that picture as a means to lobby the council on a issue, not to sensationalise it and put it on the front cover of a tabloid.”

Related articles

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:46
Hashen Ramanyake scored 96 and took four wickets for Highgate in their win over Kenton. Pic: Max Flego

Hashen Ramanayake and Ed Foster bowled Highgate to victory as the Division Three table-toppers stretched their lead to a commanding 22 points in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Yesterday, 15:11
Karol Paluch was bitten by a dog.

The owner of a dog which savaged a nine-year-old boy in a Muswell Hill park has been fined.

Yesterday, 05:45
Jack Wilshere of Arsenal during the 1st team photocall at Emirates Stadium on July 28. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Jack Wilshere will be missing for ‘a matter of days’ and could face West Ham on Sunday after suffering an ankle injury in training.

Most read news

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Broadway Ham&High e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder