BBC to help murder inquiry

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The Independent Online
THE BBC said yesterday it was helping police in response to claims that a man killed his two young children after duping a documentary team into helping him to track them down.

Erez Tivoni, 31, the subject of an Inside Story programme about amnesia, allegedly poured petrol over his one-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and set them alight after he had been reunited with them in Israel. A BBC crew finished filming and left Israel two weeks before the killings took place on 19 May.

The documentary team had decided to feature Mr Tivoni after an appeal for help in identifying him. He had walked into a police station in London and claimed he had complete memory loss.

He later flew to Israel with a BBC crew after he had told them he was desperate to find his family. The BBC was unaware that his wife, Etti Tivoni, and their two children had sought shelter in a refuge for battered wives six months earlier.

The BBC is co-operating with Israeli police. It said yesterday it had helped to fund Mr Tivoni's search but defended itself against accusations that he had duped the documentary team over his memory loss. A spokeswoman said independent experts had assessed Mr Tivoni and declared he was suffering amnesia and was not a threat. She added: "The research for this film included close liaison with the police, social services, psychologists and psychiatrists. At no point was the question of Araz committing violence raised by these professionals."

The programme filmed Mr Tivoni at court hearings as he fought for access to the children, which he eventually won.

Mr Tivoni's trial for double murder is being heard at Tel Aviv District Court.

The BBC's disclosure comes days after it was forced to scrap an episode of Everyman when a reporter from The Sun admitted posing as a sex addict.