Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Journalist killed on colour story

Kate Peyton
BBC producer Kate Peyton was shot in the back outside a Mogadishu hotel

A BBC journalist working in one of the world's most dangerous countries died making "a couple of colour features", an inquest in Suffolk has heard.

Producer Kate Peyton, 39, of Beyton, Suffolk, was shot in the back in Mogadishu, Somalia, in February 2005.

Ishbel Matheson, ex-BBC East Africa correspondent questioned why Ms Peyton was there, at the inquest in Ipswich.

She said Ms Peyton went for "a couple of features for World Service TV... and a couple of colour features".

Ms Matheson, who was based in Nairobi between 2001 and 2005, said: "For me it is a question really, was it worth it to go for basically that kind of colour story."

She told the inquest that although she was based in Africa for a long time, she was "always very reluctant to go to Somalia".

Ms Peyton, who was based in Johannesburg, South Africa, had travelled to the war-ravaged country with freelance reporter Peter Greste because the BBC felt that the story of Somalia's development was "important".

She was shot in the back as she got into a car outside a hotel a few hours after she had arrived in Mogadishu.

BBC safety advisors had classed Somalia as a "category one hostile environment" and accepted the need for journalists to travel with local armed soldiers.

Lack of focus

The inquest also heard from Milton Nkosi, Miss Peyton's boss in South Africa, who said he raised the issue of what he perceived to be Miss Peyton's "lack of focus" on the morning of 2 February 2005.

Later that day, she was offered the assignment to Somalia, the inquest was told.

Mr Nkosi said: "We discussed Kate's performance on February 2. It was not the first time I had discussed issues relating to her lack of focus as I saw it at that time.

"This was an ongoing conversation I had at the time and it was ongoing for several months."

But Mr Nkosi said he had "reassured" Miss Peyton that he would recommend that her contract be extended.

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