POLITICS
16/06/2017 15:12 BST | Updated 16/06/2017 15:57 BST

Sun journalist 'Impersonated Grenfell Tower Victim's Relative At Hospital'

News UK complete denies the allegation.

The Sun has denied one of its journalists impersonated the relative of a Grenfell Tower victim in order to interview him in hospital. 

Kings College Hospital has said it will make a formal complaint to the press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), about the behaviour of a reporter. 

The Sun was trying to get an interview with Mario Gomes, who was hailed as a hero after going back into the high-rise inferno to find his 12-year-old daughter.

PA Wire/PA Images
What remains of Grenfell Tower after the blaze

However, it was claimed the journalist pretended to be a friend of Gomes’ in a bid to convince hospital staff to give him access. 

However, News UK strenuously denied the allegation. It claimed The Sun had organised an interview with Gomes via text after being given his number by someone who knew him.

A different journalist is then said to have made the approach to staff at the hospital for the interview but Gomes declined because the reporter allegedly claimed to be a friend. News UK denies the reporter attempted to impersonate a friend.

IPSO said it has not not yet received an official complaint from the hospital. 

A spokeswoman for King’s College Hospital spokesperson: “Following an incident at King’s College Hospital, we have formally written to The Sun and will be informing the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

“We are unable to comment on the specifics until our complaint has been investigated.”

PA Archive/PA Images
The Sun is part of News UK

A spokesman for the newspaper said: “The Sun wants to make it clear that no reporter has ‘impersonated’ any family members.

“The Sun was in contact with one of the people injured in the Grenfell fire, who provided a detailed phone interview for the newspaper. We then visited him in hospital to get a further interview and photos.

“On arrival the Sun reporter and photographer made hospital staff aware that they were present and had been in touch with the contact.

"However we were informed the contact had changed his mind on the interview and the Sun promptly left the hospital. We completely refute any accusation that our employees acted inappropriately.”

The complaint would be investigated under clause 8 of the editors' code, relating specifically to hospitals, which has two rules.

It states: “Journalists must identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible executive before entering non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions to pursue inquiries.

“The restrictions on intruding into privacy are particularly relevant to inquiries about individuals in hospitals or similar institutions.”