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

Hassain Shabbir hit a crucial 60 as North London beat Kenton. Pic: Max Flego

Hussain Shabbir might have been on a food fast, but he feasted on runs instead as basement boys North London finally recorded their first win of the season in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

14:56
Connor Nurse took 6-26 as North Middlesex defeated Indian Gymkhana. Pic: Max Flego

Connor Nurse’s spin wizardry bamboozled Indian Gymkhana to earn North Middlesex a fifth win of the season and take them within 13 points of the summit in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Yesterday, 12:00
Parliament Hill and William Ellis Schools' perform a summer concert in aid of Lauderdale Transformed. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Schoolchildren showcased their musical talents in a fundraising concert for a historic Highgate house.

Yesterday, 08:00
Mike Skinner with Grace Paget and Claire Phillips of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust at the Highgate School summer fair

Music stars Chris Martin and Mike Skinner were among more than 1,000 people who enjoyed a school’s annual summer fair.

Most read news

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more

Digital Edition

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


Our trusted business finder