madeleine (2).jpg

Madeleine: Sky News reporter avoids criminal charges over “troll” suicide

It was one of the lowest media points in the long-running “Missing Madeleine” saga. A 63-year-old grandmother committed suicide after being “outed” as a “McCann troll” by Sky News. But the pre-hearing into the inquest of Brenda Leyland heard yesterday (Thursday) that Sky’s crime reporter Martin Brunt will not be facing any criminal charges over the incident.
It was following her impromptu interview with Brunt in October – unmasking her as “one of dozens of online ghouls” hounding Madeleine’s parents – that Ms Leyland was found dead in a hotel room from a suspected drugs overdose.
Conducting the pre-hearing of the inquest at Leicester Town Hall yesterday, Coroner Catherine Mason said she would be hearing evidence from Brunt, and his director of news gathering and operations Jonathan Levy, when the proceedings are reopened in March 2015. She is also due to be receiving a written statement from Ms Leyland’s son, Ben.
But she added: “I understand from my officers that from all the witnesses I intend to hear evidence from there is nobody that there is any foreseeable plan of criminal action being taken against.”
The inquest will not be heard in front of a jury, reports UK media, and is expected to last “less than a day”.
The news comes after hundreds of people protested to the way Ms Leyland had been “singled out” by the media. A Facebook campaign demanded a public inquiry and there were even those who claimed Brunt had “blood on his hands”.
By NATASHA DONN