Shot journalist was 'unlawfully killed'

A BBC journalist from Suffolk who was shot dead while working in Somalia was afraid of turning down the assignment in case she lost her job, a coroner has said.

Lizzie Parry

A BBC journalist from Suffolk who was shot dead while working in Somalia was afraid of turning down the assignment in case she lost her job, a coroner has said.

Greater Suffolk coroner Peter Dean recorded a verdict of unlawful killing and said lessons were to be learned after the death of Kate Peyton, who was shot outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, in February 2005.

Miss Peyton, 39, came from Beyton, near Bury St Edmunds, but was based at the BBC's bureau in Johannesburg, South Africa.


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Dr Dean said: “It is clear on the evidence we have heard that Kate didn't want to go to Mogadishu. “What is also abundantly clear is that she only took the assignment because she felt if she didn't take the assignment, the chances of getting that contract renewed would be damaged and she needed that contract for personal reasons.

“She felt that her job would be on the line if she didn't take it. That's not necessarily what would have happened. We shall never know.”

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Dr Dean added: “She felt that she could not turn this job down. If that was not the case, she would not have been in this situation and she would not have died.”

He said journalists should not feel pressurised into taking dangerous jobs and that managers should recognise staff had an overriding right to turn down such jobs, without fear for their future employment.

At the conclusion of the three-day inquest at Ipswich Crown Court, Dr Dean said his observations did not imply that the BBC was liable.

He praised the BBC's risk assessment procedures as “good” and “careful” but said he hoped that evidence aired at the inquest would help prevent future tragedies.

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