One of Sky News’ presenters, Kay Burley has been blasted for insensitivity, following her reporting on missing Welsh girl April Jones’ disappearance and alleged murder. Burley has been openly criticised for the manner in which she broke the news of the girl’s alleged murder to two volunteers in Machynlleth, who had been part of the voluntary search team.
The media had been briefed at a press conference just after 10:30am with the news that the suspect, Mark Bridger, had been arrested on suspicion of the murder of the five year-old girl. Until that point, he had only been arrested on suspicion of abducting her. Burley then turned to the volunteers and told them “They (meaning the police) don’t expect to find her alive.” Then, realising that she had wrongly assumed that they already knew this, said “OK, I didn’t know that you hadn’t heard. Let me just tell you what we have heard from the police, is that it’s now become a murder investigation… they don’t expect to find her alive. I’m sorry to have to tell you in circumstances like this. Would you like to say anything?”
As she speaks, the volunteers look visibly distraught and one said “If they haven’t found her, there’s a chance. Where there’s hope, there’s a chance. The other wept openly and both avowed to keep looking for April. Kay then asks how they are feeling, to which the reply is simply “numb.”
The response to Burley’s interview on Twitter has been one of outrage. The journalist George Monbiot said “The worst kind of television news reporting: cruel & pointless” and the Deputy Chair of the Labour Party, Tom Watson wrote “Kay Burley: Insensitive bordering on cruel. Is breaking news so important that you have to forget your humanity?”