My Mentor: Sue Turton on Guy Patrick

He's not a tabloid stereotype. He is quiet, unassuming and kind of melts into the pack
Click to follow
The Independent Online

I moved to Manchester in 2003 as GMTV's north of England correspondent. It was my first big reporting break. I met Guy Patrick from The Sun when he had just broken the Bruce Grobbelaar match-fixing story. I asked him to pass my request to interview his whistleblower to The Sun's editor at the time, Stuart Higgins. Strangely, no one else had asked, so I managed to bag the first interview and that's how we became mates. Later,

I moved in with him and Kate Alderson, who worked for The Times.

I never trained as a journalist and I always say it's something you either are or you're not, but I think we all learn from somebody. Guy showed me you have to have the balls to take someone on, whether it's a president or an MP.

He's not a stereotypical tabloid hack and I watched the way he operated. He is unassuming and kind of melts into the pack and that is why he is so successful. He doesn't seem to be a threat and gets people to open up to him.

When the Neil and Christine Hamilton cash-for-questions story came out, I turned up at their house and the press were all there but no one had banged on the door. I did, and Mrs Hamilton came out and physically lifted me off the doorstep, and all of this was on camera. In the past I might not have done that, but I learned from Guy to take the bull by the horns.

When I got the whistleblower story, the contact was down south and my desk said they would get someone who was there to do the interview. It was Guy who said I should do it, because I was the one who'd asked. I hadn't been there long and I would have let someone else do it. Now there is no way I would ever let anyone else do an interview I had got.

We're great friends and I ring him up for advice sometimes. I have worked with a lot of highbrow people at Channel 4 News, but I still say he's the best journalist I have ever worked with.

Sue Turton is a Channel 4 News correspondent and presenter. Guy Patrick is The Sun's northern correspondent.