[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 7 June, 2004, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Obituary: Simon Cumbers
Simon Cumbers, freelance journalist and cameraman working for the BBC
Simon Cumbers was shot dead in Riyadh
BBC cameraman Simon Cumbers has died aged 36 after being shot by gunmen in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

From Navan, County Meath, in the Irish Republic, he was well known in the Northern Ireland media after working as a cameraman for several organisations.

He had moved into photojournalism after years spent working as a radio and TV reporter.

In a statement, the BBC said this mix of technical and journalistic expertise had been at the heart of his success.

He leaves a widow, Louise Bevan, who works on BBC News 24 and Radio 5 Live.

Simon worked for several years as a radio reporter in Ireland and as a television correspondent with ITN in the UK before retraining to become a cameraman.

As a freelancer, he covered events such as the Good Friday Agreement, the Omagh bombing and disturbances at Drumcree.

He also worked throughout the world filming international news stories for Associated Press Television (now APTN) before setting up his own company, Locum Productions.

It is devastating that such a talented young man has lost his life in this way
Cathy Grieve
BBC News Interactive

Simon continued to work around the globe filming and editing on major news events for international broadcasters. He was also involved in longer format, current affairs programmes.

In January this year, while taking part in a debate on the security of media personnel operating in war zones, he had argued against the idea of journalists carrying weapons.

Acting BBC Director General Mark Byford paid tribute to him.

"I know I speak on behalf of everyone at the BBC in offering our deepest sympathy to Simon's family and Frank's family," he said.

"They are in all our thoughts and prayers today."

Colleagues have described him as an enthusiastic and creative photojournalist.

Cathy Grieve, assignment editor of BBC News Interactive, knew Simon when he worked for the APTN in Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

She said: "He was always positive about his work and was keen to do the job to the best of his ability, regardless of how exciting or mundane that task may be."


She added: "It is devastating that such a talented young man has lost his life in this way."

Stewart Purvis, chief executive of ITN at the time when Simon worked for the organisation, described him as a "very ambitious" reporter with "tons of enthusiasm and good ideas".

He told the ITV News Channel: "He had a wonderful sense of humour, he was just good fun around the newsroom and I think that is how he will be remembered by those who worked with him here.

"It is a tragedy that his life has ended in this way."

Mr Purvis said Simon's death came at a time when all Westerners were being singled out by the militants in Saudi Arabia.

"These are tragic circumstances and they are very dangerous for any media presence in Saudi Arabia," he added.

The BBC's John Simpson
"Life has become a lot more dangerous for television news cameramen"

Two BBC men shot in Saudi capital
06 Jun 04 |  Middle East
Shock over shooting of BBC crew
06 Jun 04 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific