Search

Daily Mirror to pay Highgate man ‘undisclosed fee’ for false rat story, as paper claims: ‘We were deceived’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 April 2014 | UPDATED: 08:36 16 April 2014

Adrian Whitaker holding the rat he caught and killed.

Adrian Whitaker holding the rat he caught and killed.

Archant

The Daily Mirror has paid a Highgate man an undisclosed fee to compensate for publishing a front page picture of him holding a giant rat and falsely claiming the image showed a pest controller in Liverpool.

Adrian Whitaker with a copy of the offending Daily Mirror. Picture: Polly Hancock.Adrian Whitaker with a copy of the offending Daily Mirror. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Software developer Adrian Whitaker, 35, reported the discovery of a 2ft rat at his home in Milton Park, Highgate, to the Ham&High last May, providing the newspaper with a shocking picture of him holding the giant rodent.

But on Monday, almost a year after the story was published in the Ham&High, the Daily Mirror ran a front page story about giant rats invading Liverpool and accompanied it with the photo of Mr Whitaker holding the Highgate rat.

The Mirror claimed the rat was caught in Liverpool and that the photo depicted pest controller Sean Whelan holding the dead animal.

It has since been established that the false story originated in the Sunday edition of the Liverpool Echo, owned by publisher Trinity Mirror plc, which also owns the Daily Mirror.

Adrian Whitaker and the dead rat appeared on the Liverpool Echo website.Adrian Whitaker and the dead rat appeared on the Liverpool Echo website.

Yesterday, a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool.

“It has since become clear that it was taken in another part of the country last year. We will be clarifying the position with our readers tomorrow.”

The Ham&High contacted Mr Whelan about the photograph purported to be of him holding the rat but the pest controller initially claimed it was “one of the guys that work for me” who “found it in an industrial unit in Liverpool”.

He later called the Ham&High back to insist the Liverpool Echo had “pulled” the image off Facebook of their own accord.

"We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool."

Trinity Mirror spokesman

Last night, Mr Whitaker received a phone call from Daily Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley apologising for the newspaper’s mistake and agreeing to pay the father-of-one an undisclosed fee to make up for the error.

Mr Whitaker told the Ham&High: “It just makes me realise how much more of this probably goes on in tabloids.

“I used that picture as a means to lobby the council on a issue, not to sensationalise it and put it on the front cover of a tabloid.”

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

10:48

A murder investigation has been launched after a 48-year-old man with a fatal stab wound was found on a 189 bus in Marylebone.

Yesterday, 16:32

Camden children took to the stage today with the cast of hit production STOMP as part of a campaign to encourage exercise across the borough.

Yesterday, 15:39

The struggle for the marginal parliamentary seat of Hornsey and Wood Green has kicked off – with Labour MP Catherine West and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Dawn Barnes fighting over the key issue of Brexit.

Yesterday, 15:29

The parliamentary candidate is pleased that ex-MP David Ward has been sacked as a Lib Dem election candidate after accusing “the Jews” of atrocities against the Palestinians.

Yesterday, 15:01

A new action group urges residents to make their views known on “the most significant re-landscaping of the Golders Green neighbourhood since its creation” – with new houses and shops and the demolition of the Clock Tower War Memorial proposed.

Yesterday, 12:44

Part of the Northern line between Camden and Edware will be closed while a track is replaced and the overground will also be partially closed.

Yesterday, 11:50

The suspect exposed himself to two women after asking them for directions to the nearest toilets and started to perform a sex act.

Yesterday, 10:43

The creperie, which attracts celebrity customers such as Kate Moss and Harry Styles, could close as the owner is being forced to pay back the majority of a £15,000 electricity bill which he believes he could not have run up

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now