Express editor 'obsessed with McCann stories'

 

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The Independent Online

The former editor of The Daily Express was "obsessed" with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and would put stories about the missing child on the front page "regardless" of their strength, one of his journalists told the Leveson Inquiry yesterday.

Reporters from the paper covering the disappearance of Madeleine in Portugal said British journalists were presented with a "ludicrous state of affairs" in obtaining stories because Portuguese police were banned from talking directly to the media.

The disappearance of the toddler in May 2007 created a media frenzy. In March 2008, Express Newspapers paid £550,000 in libel damages to Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and printed front-page apologies for articles alleging they were responsible for her death.

Nick Fagge, who covered the story for The Daily Express, said he was not surprised when the McCanns launched legal proceedings because of the then editor Peter Hill's interest in the story. "The editor decided it was the only story he was interested in and put it on the front page regardless of how strong the story was," he said.