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Sky News admits giving permission for Darwin 'canoe couple' email hack

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

April 5, 2012 | 2 min read

Sky News has today admitted that former managing editor Simon Cole allowed North of England correspondent Gerard Tubb to hack into the emails of ‘missing canoeist’ John Darwin.

Darwin had faked his death in a canoeing accident in 2002 so his wife could claim insurance money, before he walked into a police station in 2007.

The emails found by Sky News led to doubt that Darwin’s wife had been forced to go along with the plan because her husband was ‘domineering’.

John Ryley, the head of Sky News, said in a statement: "Sky News is committed to the highest editorial standards.

"Like other news organisations, we are acutely aware of the tensions that can arise between the law and responsible investigative journalism.

"On two occasions, we have authorised a journalist to access the email of individuals suspected of criminal activity.

"In the 2008 case of Anne Darwin, Sky News met with Cleveland Police and provided them with emails offering new information relevant to Mrs Darwin's defence.

"Material provided by Sky News was used in the successful prosecution and the police made clear after the trial that this information was pivotal to the case.

"We stand by these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest. We do not take such decisions lightly or frequently.

"They require finely balanced judgment based on individual circumstances and must always be subjected to the proper editorial controls."

The other occasion where Tubb was allowed to hack emails was in the case of a paedophile, although nothing found in the emails was broadcast.

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