McGibbon: Media should stop using Soham girls picture as 'a simple act of kindness'

Several newspapers today republished a famous picture taken of murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman despite mother Nicola Wells' efforts to "reclaim" the image.

She retains the copyright to the picture – which she took little more than an hour before the two 10-year-olds were murdered – and told the Mail on Sunday in an interview last year: "The police asked for an up-to-date shot and here was one that was just hours old. Then it became the symbol of the Soham murders and it still accompanies stories about Huntley in prison and Maxine Carr having a child.

"It is our last picture of our daughter, yet it represents something evil – that is exquisitely painful. We would love to reclaim that image for ourselves. Being unable to do so is, I think, the one last thing we have to deal with."

All national editors were contacted last year by freelance journalist Rob McGibbon to suggest that journalists respect the wishes of Mrs Wells and stop using the image.

The Guardian has agreed to stop using it, and it not appear in the Daily Mirror today. But it did appear in the Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Star and Daily Telegraph.

McGibbon told Press Gazette: “I can understand that some newspapers will justify using the photo because it was mentioned in evidence, but is it really necessary? That 'Little Beckhams' photo is imprinted in everyone's mind, so we hardly need a reminder.

"What matters most is that copyright of the photo belongs to Nicola Wells and she has said publicly that she doesn't want it used.  We can hardly expect her to take legal action to stop it happening, but I think all media outlets could do the honourable thing and withdraw it, as a simple act of kindness.

"Imagine how the families of the Soham girls feel when they see that picture across the pages of newspapers in relation to another horrific crime against a child?"

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