No suspicious circumstances surround Forlong's death
LONDON — Former Sky News reporter James Forlong, who resigned in July after allegations that he faked a submarine missile launch story during the Iraq war, was found hanged on Saturday morning at his home in Hove, East Sussex.
A police spokesman revealed there are no suspicious circumstances.
The allegations were raised by a BBC documentary crew who worked alongside Sky’s team on the HMS Splendid sub.
The BBC crew alleged that Forlong led viewers to believe that the HMS Splendid was engaged in action, although it was docked at a Ministry of Defense facility and was demonstrating the preparations for launching a missile.
The report was pool copy that was transmitted on satcaster Sky and commercial web ITV. In July, Forlong admitted to “a lapse of judgment which, for me, is a source of deep regret.”
After an internal investigation, Forlong’s producer, Lucy Chaytor, was cleared of blame.
The controversy was a blip in an otherwise exceptional career. After work at regional papers, Forlong joined the BBC in 1984 as a radio reporter before moving to ITN in 1988 as a TV news reporter. Forlong reported from Somalia, Syria, Lebanon and Bosnia while with ITN.
In 1993, he joined Sky News as senior foreign correspondent at the fledgling South Africa bureau. He reported on South Africa’s first post-apartheid elections and won two New York TV Festival awards for his reporting from war-torn Rwanda.
In 1997, Forlong became Sky News’ first Beijing correspondent and won another New York TV fest award for his coverage of the overthrow of Indonesia’s long-entrenched President Suharto. From 1999 to July this year, the 44 year-old father of two was Sky News’ joint royal and defense correspondent.
“This is a terrible personal tragedy and a shocking blow for James’ family,” Sky News head Nick Pollard said. “Everyone here sends their deepest sympathies to James’ wife and family.”
Pleading for privacy for the family to grieve, Forlong’s wife Elaine released a statement saying, “James had been shattered by the recent blow to his career as a journalist. He deeply felt the loss of his job as a television correspondent.”