That Standard reply in full
2 Derry Street
London W8 5EE
2 August 2005
Thank you for taking the trouble to write to me [letter here - ejh] regarding your concern with the Evening Standard headlines over the last week.
I can assure you that the Evening Standard published its report on the death of Jean Charles de Menezes according to the best possible information available to us at the time from police sources. We were hardly alone in this: the BBC, ITN, Press Association and other national newspapers all reported the same story.
Our headline, "Bomber is shot dead on the tube", was immediately followed by the opening line, "Police shot dead a suspected bomber today after chasing him into Stockwell Tube station." We spoke to a series of eye witnesses whose account of an "Asian man" running was in line with what police sources told us - that he was a suspected suicide bomber. Of course late on Saturday afternoon Scotland Yard announced that Mr de Menezes was in no way connected to the terror investigation. This fact only received widespread publicity in the following day's newspapers. In our first available edition on Monday morning we took up the story with great vigour, giving major prominence to his innocence and the understandable distress caused to his family and friends.
With regard to your complaint about our billboards, these are changed with every edition and reflect the main stories/headlines of the day. They are put up by our team of approximately 100 drivers and stay in place until they are changed either the following edition or on the following day.
On this occasion our understanding was that the story was correct when the news bills were put up on Friday afternoon and still correct when our sales outlets closed that night. The fact that the story changed on Saturday when the police admitted that they had made a mistake was regrettable but, unfortunately, there is no mechanism in place to remove them should such a situation occur. Had this been any other day of the week they would have been removed the following morning as part of the normal process.
Naturally, I fully understand your concerns regarding reporting that could be considered prejudicial to a future trial and of course we keep this matter in mind when editing the newspaper. However, I do not consider that in our recent reporting we have created a substantial risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced.
Please accept our apologies for any offence caused but we do reserve the right, as always, to report the most up to date news as we know it.