War reporter found dead

A journalist found dead at his home had been "shattered" after losing his job when he faked a report on the war in Iraq, his wife said today.

The body of Sky News correspondent James Forlong, 44, was found by wife Elaine at their house in Hove early on Saturday morning.

Today Mrs Forlong said she and their 15-year-old son Christopher - who has Down's Syndrome - and 12-year-old daughter Katie were in a state of shock.

In a statement she said: "The family are devastated by his death which we are still trying to come to terms with.

"James was a devoted, loving father and husband and we shall all miss him desperately."


Mr Forlong resigned from his post of joint defence and royal correspondent in July after he was accused in a BBC documentary of fabricating a report about the firing of a missile into Baghdad.

His wife said the experienced reporter had taken the news very badly.

"James had been shattered by the recent blow to his career as a journalist," she said.

"He deeply felt the loss of his job as a television correspondent.

"James was an award-winning journalist who had spent the last 10 years travelling to some of the world's worst trouble spots including Rwanda, Bosnia, Indonesia and Afghanistan and cared passionately about his work.

In a direct plea to the media, Mrs Forlong said: "As you will appreciate, it is an extremely difficult time and we would ask you to respect our privacy."

She added that the family would not make any further comment.


Nick Pollard, head of Sky News, paid tribute to his former colleague: "This is a terrible personal tragedy and a shocking blow for James's family.

"Everyone here sends their deepest sympathies to James's wife and children."

Mr Forlong, who had worked for the satellite news channel for 10 years, was discovered just after 2.30am on Saturday.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that a 44-year-old man from Hove was found dead at his address in the early hours of Saturday morning."

The spokesman said the circumstances were not thought to be suspicious and a post-mortem was due to be carried out tomorrow.

A spokeswoman at Brighton Coroner's Court said no further details regarding his death would be revealed until after the post-mortem examination.

Mr Forlong was embedded aboard aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the war with Iraq.

But he was suspended in July after the BBC documentary series, Fighting The War, exposed his false report.

Mr Forlong claimed to have a live exclusive aboard the submarine HMS Splendid, but a BBC film crew alleged library pictures were the basis for the report.

After the allegations were aired, Mr Forlong admitted: "It was a lapse of judgment, which, for me, is a source of deep regret.

"There was never any conscious intent to deceive the viewers."

After Mr Forlong was suspended, his producer Lucy Chaytor, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

News career

The Sky News journalist fronted coverage of the Golden Jubilee, the deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

He began his career in newspapers, with the West Sussex County Times and the Brighton Evening Argus, then became a radio reporter for the BBC.

Mr Forlong switched to television in 1988, reporting for ITN from Somalia, Syria, Lebanon and Bosnia.

He then joined Sky News as Senior Foreign Correspondent in 1993 and worked in South Africa, India and throughout Asia.

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