11th December 2015

Inquiry Concludes Daily Mail Was 'Misled'

An independent inquiry has concluded that the Daily Mail was misled by two whistleblowers over a child abuse scandal on St Helena.


The independent government inquiry into sex abuse on St Helena, which was prompted by Daily Mail reports into the issue, has concluded that the newspaper had been misled by two whistleblowers.

The Daily Mail published three stories on the matter. The first was published in July 2014, and was entitled 'A Culture of Sex Abuse of Children'.

The second article was published the day after the first, and stated that 'teenage girls are traded for food' on St Helena, a British overseas territory. It also claimed that the island, in the South Atlantic, was "a safe haven for sex offenders' and a 'sanctuary for paedophiles'.

The third and final article, which was published in the same month, revealed the source of the newspaper's coverage.

The Daily Mail claimed that a 'Social Services Manager' had been providing the information used in the articles.

The so-called 'Social Services Manager' claimed that 'corruption was everywhere among authorities on the island'.

The independent government inquiry into the articles said: “As the Inquiry progressed, it became increasingly clear that two… individuals were largely responsible for the more salacious allegations and the resulting furore.

“There is no evidence of corruption in the St Helena Government, the St Helena Attorney General’s office, the St Helena Judiciary and Courts’ Service, the St Helena Police, Prison, Immigration and Fire Services, or the schools.

“For the avoidance of doubt, in all the aspects of the administration of St Helena and Ascension Island that we investigated, we found no corruption at all.

“[A]lthough there are instances of child abuse on the island, these are of a specific intra-familial type largely confined to deprived families living in remote parts of the island.

“There is nothing on St Helena which we consider would attract sex tourism. In response to the Daily Mail headlines, the Inquiry Panel found no evidence that child abuse was either endemic or routine.”

 

 
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