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Obituary: Kate Peyton

Kate Peyton
Kate Peyton was known for her African-style generosity

An inquest into the death of BBC producer Kate Peyton has found she was killed unlawfully while working in Somalia.

Miss Peyton, who was shot dead in Mogadishu in 2005, was one of the BBC's most experienced producers in Africa.

She had worked with the BBC since 1993, first joining as a radio reporter on Merseyside and then moving to Manchester in 1995 to become a regional television reporter.

She moved to Johannesburg in 2001 to work on the BBC's world planning desk and in the following years covered stories including the Aids crisis, floods in Mozambique and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Born in Bury St Edmonds in 1965, she grew up in Suffolk and then studied civil engineering at Manchester University, before doing a post-graduate course in journalism.

Friend and colleague, former BBC Southern Africa correspondent Barnaby Phillips, said Miss Peyton loved Africa with all her body and soul.

Many friends

He said she was not an obsessed or unbalanced journalist, courting danger and glory.

"She often used to say - quite rightly - that certain risks were not worth taking, that certain jobs were not more important then her many friends or family," he said.

During the Ipswich-based inquest into her death, former BBC correspondent Ishbel Matheson said Miss Peyton was aiming to marry her partner Roger Koy and hoping to adopt his daughter Chloe.

At the time of her death, her friends said the 39-year-old loved to help and her generosity was very African in nature.

Roger Koy arriving at the inquest into Kate's death
The inquest heard Kate Peyton hoped to marry Roger Koy

She paid for people's education and tried to find them jobs, aware that she had more than many other people.

Living with Mr Koy and Chloe in Johannesburg, their house was said to always be full of friends and people passing through from various parts of Africa.

The BBC's Fergal Keane remembered her as "the kindest, gentlest human being to work with and to have as a friend and I will always treasure her laughter and stories".

"She devoted a large part of her life in trying to telling the truth about Africa."

The inquest into her death also heard a glowing recommendation from former army officer Paul Greeves, the BBC's head of safety.

Mr Greeves said Miss Peyton's family, friends and colleagues had suffered a "terrible loss" and he praised her bravery.

"I was a solider for more than 20 years and in recent years I have come to develop a huge respect and admiration for journalists who cover foreign news," he added.

"It is one thing to go to these places with a rifle in your hand. It is quite another to go virtually unsupported, armed only with a camera or a recording device or a pen. Kate was an extraordinarily brave journalist."

video and audio news
BBC colleagues pay tribute to Kate Peyton



SEE ALSO
Country profile: Somalia
20 Nov 08 |  Country profiles

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