Call for answers after reporter's death

A CORONER has called on the BBC to hand over risk assessment files relating to a Suffolk-born journalist who was murdered in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

A CORONER has called on the BBC to hand over risk assessment files relating to a Suffolk-born journalist who was murdered in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Kate Peyton, 39, was murdered in an apparent drive-by shooting in the Somalian capital Mogadishu after being sent there on work business by the BBC in February last year.

Last night her mother Angela, from Beyton, near Bury St Edmunds, told how Kate's family still had questions about her daughter's posting to Somalia and what steps were taken by the BBC to improve her safety.

Mrs Peyton, 65, had been visiting her daughter in South Africa when Ms Peyton got the call to Somalia for a 10-day assignment.

After arriving in Mogadishu, Ms Peyton called her mother to say she had got there safe and sound. By the evening, Mrs Peyton had been called by the BBC telling her that her daughter had been shot.

The BBC yesterday confirmed it had been in contact with Ms Peyton's family about their concerns and that Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean had asked them to supply details of its risk assessment and management policies and how they were supplied in Ms Peyton's case.

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The corporation also revealed how Ms Peyton had been given “rigorous hostile environment training” before the posting to Somalia - though the family wants to know exactly what that entailed.

The inquest into Ms Peyton's death, originally planned for this autumn, will now be held in the New Year.

Speaking to the EADT, Mrs Peyton said she had been advised not to discuss details of the forthcoming inquest but said delays in the hearing getting under way were hanging over the family's head and making it difficult to move on.

She added: “We still have unanswered questions about what happened.”

A spokeswoman for the BBC said its policies had not been changed in the wake of Ms Peyton's death though added: “Our assessments are constantly monitored to respond to changing world events.

“The BBC takes the safety of its entire staff extremely seriously. We are recognised as setting industry wide standards with regards to the health and security of our journalists.

“All staff undergo rigorous hostile environment training before leaving for anywhere that is deemed a risk.

“Such deployments are carefully considered and only undertaken with the agreement of all concerned.

“The coroner has asked us to provide details of our policies and how they were applied in this case. There is nothing out of the ordinary or unusual about this request.

“The BBC will fully co-operate with the coroner, who is welcome to see all the relevant documentation.”

Ms Peyton was a senior broadcast journalist who had worked for the BBC in Manchester before moving to Africa as a freelance producer 10 years before her death. At the time of the shooting in Somalia, Ms Peyton was working a two-year contract with the BBC.

After getting the call to head for Somalia, Ms Peyton met up with BBC reporter Peter Greste before going to Mogadishu on February 9.

The pair were standing outside the city's Sahafi Hotel when a single shot was fired, hitting Ms Peyton in the back. She died in hospital of internal bleeding.

laurence.cawley@eadt.co.uk

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