Non-BBC probe of reporter's death sought

LONDON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Britain's justice minister called for an independent inquiry into the apparent suicide of a BBC journalist who died amid accusations of bullying and harassment.

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright joined other lawmakers in urging Culture Secretary Maria Miller and BBC Trust Chairman Chris Patten to intervene in the inquiry into the apparent suicide of Russell Joslin, 50, who died in a Warwick hospital Oct. 22 after he was found strangled at a psychiatric hospital, The Guardian reported Tuesday.


Wright wrote to Patten and Miller to protest the appointment of former BBC human resources official Lesley Granger to oversee an internal inquiry into Joslin's death.

In his letter to Patten and Miller, Wright said: "I have no doubt that Ms. Granger is an expert in human resource issues and will bring a wealth of experience to the investigation but I, and the Joslin family, believe that any investigation into the causes of Mr. Joslin's death must be carried out by those who are, and are seen to be, sufficiently independent."

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Text messages on Joslin's cellphone indicated he had contacted BBC officials to try to address work-related issues, The Guardian said.


The texts included allegations of being bullied in the workplace and harassed sexually by a former female colleague, as well as his claims that BBC management sat him down and mishandled his concerns and complaints for several years.

Joslin's family said the texts also reveal his recent actions may have been triggered by the Jimmy Savile sex scandal and BBC cover-up allegations, and his allegedly being told by human resources officials the broadcaster didn't have any record of specific complaints he made earlier this year.

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Warwickshire police are investigating Joslin's death. A coroner's inquest was to be conducted.

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