Northern Ireland

Stephen Nolan Maghaberry show: Son of murder victim Alice Morrow says BBC failed to take into account family's 'feelings and emotions'

Murder victim Alice Morrow
Murder victim Alice Morrow

The son of a murdered woman whose killer was interviewed by Stephen Nolan has said the broadcaster and the BBC failed to take into account his family's 'feelings and emotions'.

Alice Morrow's son Glen Morrow spoke out after it emerged the murder of his mother was mocked during a comedy show in Belfast last week.

Ms Morrow, a 53-year-old grandmother, was murdered by William Hutchinson in east Belfast in March 2019.

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The interview with Hutchinson was recorded as part of a BBC series about Maghaberry Prison.

Jailed: Inside Maghaberry Prison has been made by Mr Nolan's Third Street Studio production company.

Hutchinson initially denied murdering his partner but pleaded guilty as he was set to go on trial in June 2021.

Convicted killer William Hutchinson
Convicted killer William Hutchinson

In the interview he denied killing Ms Morrow and produced a picture of his victim in his prison cell.

Ms Morrow's sister Julie Tumilson has previously urged the BBC not to air the interview and remove it from its iPlayer service.

The hurt suffered by Ms Morrow's family was compounded last week when a comedian  joked about the killing during a show in Belfast.

Stephen Nolan
Stephen Nolan

While he didn't refer to Ms Morrow by name, he described a murder similar to hers which features in the Nolan documentary, making light of the brutal circumstances.

Mr Morrow spoke of his devastation that his mother's cruel murder was used for "entertainment purposes".

"It doesn’t just stay in the club, it has spread to social media platforms making a mockery out of our beloved Alice who was brutally beaten to death through a domestic violence attack," he said.

He added that the comments made about his mother had "no due diligence or sensitivity to our family or friends" and "caused yet another upsetting weekend in our home whilst already trying to deal with the effects of the show," he said.

He said the comedian should now apologise.

Mr Morrow believes that cruel reference to his mother is linked to her murder being highlighted by the current BBC series.

"This all boils back to the same point that was made last week. Nolan nor the BBC took into account our feelings, emotions or severity of the making of his program," he said.

He believes there has been a lack of consideration for his family "who are still trying to grieve".

"We are deeply devastated by the actions of the BBC for giving the likes of (the comedian) stories to use as comedy," he said.

"This isn’t a laughing matter for anyone involved."

Mr Morrow reiterated that his family was not contacted about the 'Jailed' series, adding that the "first contact was made when we expressed our extreme concern through an email to Mr Nolan one week before the show was being aired".

"This is now causing a snowball effect which is causing further upset and hurt to our family," he said.

"It’s just not fair."

The family urged anyone suffering domestic abuse to speak to authorities.

A spokesman for the BBC said: “We think that Jailed: Inside Maghaberry is an important piece of journalism.

"It has raised issues of significant public interest, including about the impact and lasting harms of many crimes. We took care with the making of this series and have been concerned to facilitate an extended conversation about it on the BBC’s airwaves.

"We have been mindful of victims throughout - something that’s reflected in the questions that we put to the prisoners we interviewed in these programmes.

"None of this is easy, the issues involved are complex and some of the realities these programmes describe are upsetting.

"All of them were approached with sensitivity and in accordance with the relevant BBC editorial guidelines.”