The Murdoch School Of Journalism

By london_pjb Last edited 234 months ago

Last Updated 11 November 2004

The Murdoch School Of Journalism

Londonist can sometimes see why we journalists get a bad name. A quick surf of even today’s newspapers will see that Brian Drysdale, “48”, driver of the car involved in the rail crash in Berkshire last Saturday, drove onto the railway line, removed his clothes, made a final phone call on his mobile, and then died.

The Times Online today has a particularly graphic and moving description of the last moments of the "48-year-old homosexual chef".

Unfortunately this version of events is not true. Brian Drysdale was not naked. In fact he was fully clothed and wearing his seatbelt when the Paddington to Penzance train struck his car.

Neither did he make a dramatic final phone call. His mobile phone was recovered at the scene and subsequent “interrogation” showed that the last call was made some hours before the incident. It is not even certain that he was aged 48, although nearly all the 279 reports on the man claim that he was. Subsequent investigation has shown that he might have been in his late 30s.

Still, it all made for good drama, didn’t it? A gay naked man making a phone call before a train hits. Londonist is only surprised that the reports didn’t have him taking a large swig from a bottle of Scotch and swallowing a handful of pills at the same time. Never let the truth get in in the way of a good story. Although we sometimes wonder if the people at The Times have been watching a little too much Holby City.