'Sunday Mirror' faces fine after mistaking man for 'lottery rapist'

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The Independent Online

The Sunday Mirror could face a massive libel bill after mistakenly identifying a man as a convicted rapist who had won £7m on the National Lottery.

The Sunday Mirror could face a massive libel bill after mistakenly identifying a man as a convicted rapist who had won £7m on the National Lottery.

More than 100,000 first editions of the newspaper were withdrawn from sale in Wales, the West Country, the Tyne Tees region and central London on Saturday night when the error was realised. But tens of thousands were still sold.

The newspaper claimed to have tracked down Iorworth Hoare, 52, a convicted rapist who won the lottery in 2004, to a popular British seaside resort but used pictures of the wrong man. As soon as the paper realised its mistake, it changed its front-page story to one about the footballer Wayne Rooney.

The gaffe, which could prove extremely costly if the wrongly identified man takes legal action, follows a series of high-profile errors at the newspaper group. In May 2004, Piers Morgan was sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror after publishing faked photographs of abuse by troops in Iraq. In 2001, Colin Myler resigned as editor of the Sunday Mirror after publishing an article that led to the collapse of an assault trial involving Leeds United footballers.

The Sunday Mirror took the precaution of contacting broadcasters and print media on Saturday night, to prevent them using the incorrect report. In London, Mirror Group Newspapers sent motorcycle couriers to pick up or buy back copies.

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