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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Reporter death details 'withheld'
ITV reporter Terry Lloyd
Veteran war reporter Terry Lloyd died in Iraq in March 2003
The British military may have withheld information about ITN journalist Terry Lloyd's death in Iraq, a former media chief has told an inquest.

Ex-ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis said the firm had made "numerous requests" to the defence secretary about Mr Lloyd's death in March 2003.

But only "limited" information was given, he told Oxford coroner's court.

Mr Lloyd, 50, was shot dead on a road to the southern city of Basra, just days after hostilities in Iraq began.

He was apparently caught in crossfire between Iraqi and US forces.

We couldn't force the military to tell us troop movements to pass on to our war correspondents
Former ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis
Mr Purves told the court so little information was given about the incident that ITN had to send two of its own journalists into Basra to find out.

He said: "I came to the conclusion that the British military knew more about what happened at the top level than they were disclosing to us."

Mr Purvis also claimed the military did not "recognise" journalists not embedded with their troops.

The military did not wish to take responsibility for "unilaterals" - independent journalists - "to such an extent that in a sense they wouldn't even recognise their existence", he said.

"In my experience the British and the American military do not want unilateral teams operating full stop."

He told the court ITN told the military about their news teams' travel plans, but were not given any information about troop movements.

He added: "They were not prepared to enter into a dialogue so I'm not sure what more could have been done.

"We couldn't force the military to tell us troop movements to pass on to our war correspondents."

Oxford coroner Andrew Walker said: "It seems that there needs to be some way of informing unilateral teams about where troops are going to be."

'The journalist's journalist'

Earlier, the inquest heard from newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald.

Sir Trevor described Mr Lloyd as "a good friend" whom he had known for 20 years.

He described him as "the journalist's journalist" and "not a risk taker".

Inactivity didn't suit him very well - he was rather keen to get going
Sir Trevor McDonald
"He was very professional. He regarded every job as a special assignment."

He described how he had had breakfast with Mr Lloyd two days before his death, at a hotel in Kuwait.

Mr Lloyd was "very keen to get going", he said.

The last time he saw Mr Lloyd was two days later, in the car park of the hotel they were staying at, on the morning of his death.

He was subsequently called on to formally identify Mr Lloyd's body.

Funeral in 2003

Three colleagues were travelling with Mr Lloyd when he died - French cameraman Fred Nerac, Lebanese translator Hussein Osman and Daniel Demoustier.

The remains of Mr Osman were found while Mr Nerac is still classed as missing. Mr Demoustier survived the incident.

Mr Lloyd joined ITN in 1983 after beginning his career in Derby.

He went on to become one of the most experienced and respected journalists for the network, covering conflicts around the world.

His funeral was held in Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, in April 2003.

He is survived by his wife Lynn, and two children, Chelsey and Oliver.

The hearing continues.

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