Sky News presenter, Kay Burley, accused of being 'insensitive bordering on cruel' in interview with April Jones volunteers


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The Independent Online

The Sky News presenter, Kay Burley, has been accused of being 'insensitive bordering on cruel' by users of the microblogging site Twitter today, after she broke news of April Jones' alleged murder to two volunteers in Machynlleth.

Burley, who has been presenting from the Welsh village since April Jones was reported missing, approached two people who were helping with the search during a live interview.

The news that Mark Bridger had been arrested on suspicion of the murder of the five-year-old girl was announced to the media at a press conference just after 10.30am.

Burley approached two volunteers in the street as the news broke and asked them what their reaction was. When they told her they had not heard the latest news she told them.

Burley said: "They [the police] don't expect to find her alive. I'm sorry to have to tell you in circumstances like this...would you like to say anything?"

The female volunteer reacted to the news by gasping, putting her hand over her mouth and crying.

The interview prompted an immediate Twitter storm with Tom Watson, Deputy Chair of the Labour Party amongst those furious at the interview.

Watson wrote: "Kay Burley: Insensitive bordering on cruel. Is breaking news so important that you have to forget your humanity?"

While Kath Coyle added: "I don't think Kay Burley has a heart. She has a swinging brick. No compassion or humanity whatsoever."

Journalist and commentator George Monbiot wrote: "The worst kind of television news reporting: cruel & pointless."

Other people used their accounts to call on users to complain to Sky News about the interview.

Kay Burley is no stranger to controversy - she faced an online campaign to get her sacked following an 'aggressive' interview with a political campaigner in 2010.

She also drew fire from viewers after making singer Peter Andre cry after questioning him about his ex-wife's new marriage and his children.

A Sky News spokesperson said: "At around 10.30 today, Dyfed Powys Police announced that the search for April was now a murder inquiry. Several minutes later, Kay Burley spoke live to a volunteer believing she was aware of the latest developments. As she spoke she was joined by a second volunteer.

"It is clear from the full clip that Kay did not start the interview with the intention of breaking the sad development to them.

"However, as the interview unfolded, she found herself having to explain the developments and she sought to deal with it as sensitively as possible whilst continuing to offer some comfort to the interviewees.

"Everyone at Sky News has the greatest sympathy for all those affected by this tragic story and we will continue work with the police and
local community to keep people informed."

Sky also provided the full transcript:

Kay Burley –  If you could stand by a second please Martin, I want to chat to Donna who we were chatting to a little while ago.  Hiya, you have heard the news?

Donna – Yes, he has just said (starts to cry), I am sorry.

Family Friend – What’s happened, I haven’t heard?

Kay Burley – OK, I didn’t know that you hadn’t heard

Family Friend – We have been out, we have been ribboning

Kay Burley – Ok, let me just tell you what we heard from the police, is that it has now become a murder investigation, and they have spoken to the family and they don’t expect to find her alive.  I am sorry to have to tell you in circumstances like this.  Would you like to say anything or would you like to..

Donna – They are wrong..

Family Friend – If they haven’t found her there is a chance, where there is hope there is a chance.  There is always a chance, we haven’t found her yet.  Until we find her… she will be alright, we will find her

Donna – The police have been wrong before and hopefully this will be one of those times.

Family Friend – There is no bother, we will find her, she will be alive.  She will be alright

Kay Burley – What do you think will happen now?

Family Friend – We will keep looking, we will find her.  Until we bring her home to her mum and dad we will keep looking

Donna – We will keep searching day and night until we find her

Family Friend – There is no option but find her.

Kay Burley – How are you feeling?

Family Friend – Numb, just numb.

Kay Burley – I am going to let you compose yourselves, if you want to talk to us again later, we are here but I will let you get on.

Donna – Have you got your pink ribbon?

Kay Burley – Yes I have yes, look after yourselves

Donna – Keep hope alive, until we are told otherwise just keep hope alive.

Kay Burley – OK, Mark White is at the search site on the river for us this morning.  You saw the reaction there from local people who have been hoping against hope.  Despair was starting to set in but they are still hopeful that they will find this little girl alive, it does look from what we are hearing from the police that that is now incredibly unlikely, though a body  has not been found as yet.