Man Bit Murder Victim a Few Times but Didn't Eat Her: News outlets correct - iMediaEthics

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A man may have bitten his murder victim a few times, but he didn’t actually eat her. Three years later, the man’s father obtained corrections from two news outlets about the reports.

Matthew Williams murdered a woman named Cerys Yemm in November 2014 in an Argoed, Wales hostel. Williams then died from a heart attack after being Tasered by police, the BBC reported. The hostel owner called emergency services and said she thought Williams was cannibalizing Yemm. While Yemm did have bite marks on her body, she died from sharp force trauma and there was “no evidence” she was eaten, according to the Sun‘s 2017 report on the inquest into her death.

Williams’ father, Chris Williams, complained in 2014 to the press regulator in the UK over eight articles published back then by five news outlets (the Daily Star, the South Wales Argus, the Mail Online, the Daily Mirror and the South Wales Evening Post).  Given that the authorities were investigating the deaths, the complaints were put on hold until now. IPSO didn’t have to rule on any of the complaints because Williams and the news outlets resolved by posting corrections or pointing to follow-up coverage that reported on the findings of the investigations of the woman’s death.

The articles were:

  • two November 2014 articles from the Daily Star, “Flesh eating ‘zombie’ chewed girl’s face off” and “Tragic victim of cannibal killer.”
  • Nov. 2014 article from the South Wales Argus, “‘Cannibal’ family tells of ‘shock'”
  • Nov. 2014 Mail Online article, “British Hannibal Lecter tasered after hostel horror”
  • Nov. 2014 Daily Mirror article, “A date with death”
  • three Nov. 2014 articles in the South Wales Evening Post, “Family of ‘cannibal killer’ ‘devastated’ by death of victim,” “‘Cannibal’ ‘eats woman’s face’ in village hotel and dies after police taser him'” and “‘Cannibal’ killing victim Cerys Yemm was chatted up by suspected murderer in a bar”

The South Wales Evening Post, the Mirror and the Argus resolved the complaint by pointing to its follow-up articles that reported the results of the inquest.

The Mail donated to charity and published a footnote reading:

“Versions of this article published in November 2014 wrongly suggested that Matthew Williams was ‘high on cocaine’. We would like to clarify that a toxicology report showed that Mr Williams had amphetamine in his system but had not taken cocaine at the time of the attack.”

iMediaEthics has written to the Mail to ask the name of the charity.

The Daily Star unpublished “several online articles” and posted a correction about reports on Yemm and Williams that read:

“In November 2014 we reported on the murder of Cerys Yemm and subsequent death of her killer Matthew Williams. We said that a witness had seen Mr Williams eating Ms Yemms’ face and we referred to Mr Williams as a cannibal. At the inquest into the deaths of Ms Yemm and Mr Williams, the pathologist confirmed that amongst the 89 separate injuries inflicted upon Ms Yemm, he found 3 or 4 bite marks. However, no parts of her body were missing and the pathologist confirmed there was no evidence of her being eaten.”

iMediaEthics has written to the Star to ask how many articles were unpublished.

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Man Bit Murder Victim a Few Times but Didn’t Eat Her: News outlets correct

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