Discover client recommended agencies

Questions for Daily Mail and Richard Littlejohn following transgender teacher Lucy Meadows suicide verdict

A coroner described the media coverage of a transgender teacher Lucy Meadows' sex change as "appalling" as he recorded a death of suicide on Tuesday at the inquest into her death.

Criticism: Richard Littlejohn's article was removed from Mail Online

Controversy surrounded an article by the Daily Mail's Richard Littlejohn in December and the piece was removed from the Daily Mail website following a complaint from Meadows in January. In the article, Littlejohn described Meadows - who was previously known as Nathan Upton before undergoing gender reassignment treatment and returning to St Mary Magdalen's primary school in Accrington in December as Lucy Meadows - as selfish and questioned her ability to do her job.

"By insisting on returning to St Mary Magdalen's, he is putting his own selfish needs ahead of the well-being of the children he has taught for the past few years," the article read.

"It would have been easy for him to disappear quietly at Christmas, have the operation and then return to work as 'Miss Meadows' at another school on the other side of town in September. No-one would have been any the wiser.

"But if he cares so little for the sensibilities of the children he is paid to teach, he's not only trapped in the wrong body, he's in the wrong job."

Meadows took her own life in March. The Daily Mail was among local and national titles which covered her story.

Coroner Michael Singleton said at her inquest: "Having carried out what can only be described as a character assassination, having sought to ridicule and humiliate Lucy Meadows and bring into question her right to pursue her career as a teacher, the Daily Mail's response was to offer to remove the article from the website.

"It seems to me that nothing has been learnt from the Leveson Inquiry or subsequent report."

An online petition set up in the aftermath of Meadows death calling for the sacking of Richard Littlejohn received more than 200,000 signatures.

The Daily Mail defended the article in a story featured in Wednesday's paper. A spokesman said: "Richard Littlejohn's column emphatically defended the rights of people to have sex change operations but echoed some parents' concerns about whether it was right for children to have to confront such complex gender problems at such a vulnerable young age.

"Among the many reasons Miss Meadows gave for taking her actions, none blamed the press coverage. Miss Meadows herself thanked the PCC for the way her complaint was amicably resolved."

By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy