Sky News offered “condolences” because one of the people it reported on died by suicide, the Guardian reported.
Brenda Leyland, who had posted on Twitter hundreds of negative remarks about the parents of Madeleine McCann, who went missing in Portugal in 2007, died by suicide last year.
BuzzFeed collected a list of her tweets about the family.
“Brenda Leyland’s tragic death highlights the unforeseeable human impact that the stories we pursue can have, and Sky News would like to extend its sincere condolences to her family,” Sky News said in a statement sent to iMediaEthics, defending its reporting as in the “public interest.”
Sky News’ reporter Martin Brunt, who attempted to interview Leyland about her tweets days before her death, said he is “devastated” by what happened. Leyland’s death is in the news again as a UK coroner just completed an inquest into her death and confirming her death was by suicide.
At the time of Leyland’s death last October, Brunt defended his actions noting he never “stalked, chased” Leyland and only asked her for comment, as iMediaEthics wrote at the time.
Leyland told Brunt that she had “thought about ending it all but I am feeling better,” but Brunt said he dismissed that comment as not a serious remark about suicide, he told the inquest, according to the BBC.
Sky News defended its decision to pursue Leyland for an interview and a news report. “The team at Sky News followed its editorial guidelines and pursued a story in a responsible manner that we believed was firmly in the public interest,” it said in a statement, according to the Guardian.
Meanwhile, Leyland’s son Ben said in a statement, “There is no doubt in my mind that the Sky News interview was the final straw that pushed her to do what she did.”
Ultimately, the coroner investigating Leyland’s death ruled that “I am satisfied that no one could have known what she was going to do and how she was going to do it,” according to the Telegraph.