Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Shot producer 'doubted by bosses'

Kate Peyton
Kate Peyton was killed while working in Somalia in 2005

A BBC producer who was killed in Somalia felt she had to go to prove her commitment, her sister told an inquest.

Kate Peyton, 39, of Beyton, Suffolk, was shot in Mogadishu in February 2005.

Coroner Peter Dean said the inquest would examine risk assessments carried out by the BBC before Ms Peyton was deployed to the war-torn African state.

Rebecca Peyton told the inquest at Ipswich Crown Court that her sister wanted a new work contract, but felt BBC bosses doubted her commitment.

Reporter Peter Greste, who suggested the trip and accompanied the producer, said journalists who went to Somalia were aware of the risks but he believed they were "manageable".

Ms Peyton, 36, told the hearing that her sister felt she needed to impress her managers.

She was utterly clear in her mind that she had to do it - that she had no choice
Rebecca Peyton

"She had been told there were doubts about her commitment to her job," she told the inquest.

"When it comes to news journalism, you can earn a lot of points by going to dangerous places. It is simply how it functions."

Ms Peyton added: "She was utterly clear in her mind that she had to do it - that she had no choice."

'Extreme risk'

Suffolk Police investigated the death and provided a report to the coroner.

Det Ch Insp David Skevington told the inquest that Ms Peyton began her journalistic career as a radio reporter on Merseyside in 1993, moving to Johannesburg in 2001.

She went on to cover a number of important stories affecting Africa.

Mr Skevington said Somalia had been without effective government since 1991 and had witnessed years of fighting between rival warlords.

Mogadishu
Kate Peyton died within hours of arriving in Mogadishu

Security experts and visitors were under "extreme risk", he told the hearing.

He said Ms Peyton travelled to Mogadishu with a BBC reporter, arriving at about midday on 9 February 2005.

She was shot a little over two hours later while leaving a hotel used as a base by members of Somalia's transitional federal government.

The producer underwent surgery in hospital, but died on the evening of the shooting.

Mr Greste, who was one of the BBC's reporters in southern Africa at the time, said Ms Peyton had contacted him before her departure, was happy to join him and had expressed no concerns about the risks.

'Standard' security

He accepted that there was no question that Somalia was an "extremely dangerous place".

"But the experience of the foreign journalists was that it was manageable," he told the hearing.

Mr Greste said he left security in the hands of people more experienced than he was, and that the security measures adopted were "standard".

Mr Dean said: "[I] don't get any sense from any of the evidence that Kate was unaware of the extreme risk in the area into which she was going."

Arthur Blake, speaking for the Peyton family, suggested that the BBC had not gathered expert information relating to attacks by terrorist groups.

The hearing, which is expected to last five days, continues.



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SEE ALSO
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05 Mar 05 |  Suffolk
Obituary: Kate Peyton
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