Editor’s comment: Survivors will always have a voice in us

Former mayor of Islington Sandy Marks today and (inset) pictured in the Barcelona conference newslet

Former mayor of Islington Sandy Marks today and (inset) pictured in the Barcelona conference newsletter in 1980. Pictures: KEN MEARS and LSE ARCHIVES - Credit: Ken Mears and LSE Archives

The publication of Sarah Morgan’s independent review this week is a vindication of our decision to print allegations about Sandy Marks’ past 18 months ago (almost to the day).

We always had confidence in our story despite Ms Marks’ protestations, and I am pleased to see a top barrister examining the evidence we worked on and coming to the same conclusions we did about the balance of probabilities.

Our (then) investigations reporter Emma Youle and I gave evidence to the review and, while it did at times feel a little bit like our journalism was on trial, I had faith Ms Morgan would realise we had been responsible and thorough.

This was, in fact, what she found. Ms Morgan says in her report that the Gazette was “open and helpful even before I invited its two journalists to come in for interview,” refers to an “impression that the Islington Gazette had been responsible in their approach in seeking in advance to identify the photograph and its provenance,” and says: “From my interview with the editor, the journalist and the managing editor it was evident to me that the paper had taken a responsible approach to authenticating its information.”

I say this not to blow our own trumpet – I believe our journalism speaks for itself – but to dissuade those such as the ex-councillor who essentially accused the Gazette of a hatchet job last year.

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There is plenty more to come on this story, not least because the review stops significantly short of what many had hoped for – recommending the White Report be revisited. But the survivors of abuse (I learnt among the devastating evidence given to Ms Morgan that some prefer “victims” or “thrivers”, which we will endeavour to respect) will always have a friend, and a voice, in these pages.

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