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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Apology over murder picture
Murder Blues title picture
Murder Blues examined gun crime in London
The family of a murder victim have received an apology over the use a crime scene photograph in a BBC documentary.

Murder Blues, which has just finished a three-week run on BBC One, followed the work of Operation Trident, a unit set up to tackle gun crime among London's black communities.

The second programme featured the case of Solomon Martin, the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting last December.

A police photograph showing his body in a car was included, but many members of his family called the BBC to say they were unaware the picture was going to be used.

Sensitivity

"This was an invasion of a family's grief and I am deeply, deeply upset," said one.

Another caller said: "The programme makers need to show respect and sensitivity to people when they are dealing with this type of thing."

Producer Jane Sayers
Jane Sayers: Misunderstanding
Murder Blues was made for the BBC by an independent company, Films of Record.

"A member of my team went to meet Solomon Martin's father, to discuss this image with him to see if he was happy for us to use it," explained producer and director Jane Sayers.

"It seems at that point a misunderstanding unfortunately occurred.

"We believed from that encounter that permission had been granted by Solomon Martin's father to use that photo. Solomon Martin's father unfortunately left that encounter believing that he had given his permission for an entirely different photo to be used.

Approval

"We did not actually take the image with us, we should have taken a photo with us to show him.

Roger Graef, Films of Record
Roger Graef: "We put our hands up"
"That was a mistake, that was our error, which has caused a great deal of upset to Solomon Martin's family, for which we are very very sorry."

The BBC's guidelines say that in cases such as this, the approval of the family should always be sought.

The chief executive of Films of Record, Roger Graef, added: "We believed and had spent quite a long time obtaining what we thought was Solomon Martin's father's permission.

"It's nobody else's fault - we put our hands up to it. We would like to think we are the most responsible film makers in this territory yet even we are capable of making these mistakes and it shouldn't have happened."

Richard Klein, the BBC executive who commissioned Murder Blues, has also expressed his regret and sympathy to the family.


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