Campaigner Ludovic Kennedy dies aged 89

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The Independent Online

Distinguished broadcaster, author and campaigner Sir Ludovic Kennedy has died, his spokeswoman confirmed today.

Sir Ludovic, 89, is thought to have been in a frail condition for some time after developing pneumonia following a fall last year.

He was a BBC presenter and published his own investigations into well-known crimes and his work is credited with contributing to the abolition of the death penalty.

The spokeswoman could not immediately give any further details.

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association (BHA), said: "Sir Ludovic was a stalwart supporter of the BHA and a progressive campaigner on many fronts. He will be sorely missed."

Sir Ludovic's family told The Times website that he had passed away yesterday at a nursing home in Salisbury, aged 89.

In his later years, the sometime Liberal Democrat campaigner was also an advocate of assisted dying and one of his many books is titled Euthanasia - the Good Death.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "Ludovic Kennedy was one of the great thinkers of his generation.

"His pursuit of justice and his championing of sometimes unpopular and controversial causes marked him out as a true liberal.

"He will be greatly missed."

Eton-educated Sir Ludovic followed his sea captain father into the Navy, serving aboard destroyers in the Arctic and North Atlantic during the Second World War. He was involved in the pursuit of the Bismarck, an incident he chronicled in his book Pursuit.

He later went to Oxford's Christ Church and began a career in journalism, moving from print publications such as Newsweek to TV work. He was an ITN newsreader and later became an anchorman for the BBC's Panorama.

For many BBC viewers he will be best known for his appearances on the BBC2 TV review show Did You See...? but it was his campaigns against injustice which were among the most fulfilling parts of his career.

His celebrated book 10 Rillington Place, later turned into a film starring Lord Attenborough, demonstrated that Timothy Evans had been wrongly convicted of a murder committed by the serial killer John Christie. Evans was later pardoned and the case was a component in the abolition of the death penalty.

Sir Ludovic was also a candidate at the first by-election to be given live TV coverage when he stood as a Liberal for the Rochdale seat in 1958. He lost to Labour but managed a huge boost for Liberal fortunes.

He was married to ballet dancer Moira Shearer, who starred in the classic ballet film The Red Shoes. The couple, who had a son and three daughters, were married for 56 years until her death in 2006.