The BBC radio presenter Jeremy Vine was forced to apologise on air yesterday after his show ran a spoof news item saying that Ian Huntley, the Soham child killer, had been murdered in his prison cell.
Vine, who presents The Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 between noon and 2pm, said the BBC was sorry if listeners had been misled by the item. The spoof news item was read by a newsreader, causing rumours to spread around newsrooms that Huntley had died.
"Some of our listeners may have been misled," Vine said at the end of the show. "We would like to apologise for any offence this may have caused."
The spoof bulletin was featured during a debate about the influence newspaper editors have over government ministers. As part of the discussion, a newsreader read out a list of news stories that the BBC thought tabloid editors might like to see. Vine introduced the spoof bulletin by saying a news bulletin from "Radio 2 and a quarter" followed. A newsreader's voice then read out the "spoof" news at 1.08pm.
The first item said Huntley had been killed in his cell and the people responsible would be "placed on the Queen's Honours list".Reuse content