Kate Peyton

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Kate Peyton
Born (1965-12-13)13 December 1965
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Died February 9, 2005(2005-02-09) (aged 39)
Mogadishu, Somalia
Cause of death Shot
Nationality British
Education Culford School
Alma mater University of Manchester
Occupation Journalist, freelance producer
Employer BBC

Katherine Mary Peyton (13 December 1965 – 9 February 2005)[1] was a British journalist and senior producer for the BBC Johannesburg bureau from 2002 to 2005. She was killed in a shooting incident in Somalia whilst reporting on that country's nascent peace process.


Peyton was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She was educated at Culford School and read civil engineering at Manchester University. However, while at university she found herself increasingly drawn to books and journalism and resolved to make a career as a producer in broadcasting.[2]

On leaving university she got her first job, at BBC Radio Suffolk, and also worked at Radio Merseyside and GMR. Her long-term ambition as a young radio producer was eventually to work in South Africa, a country she had first visited with her family in 1979.[2]

She finally moved to South Africa to work in the 1990s, firstly for the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC as a freelance producer. She was eventually appointed to the post of Africa Producer for the BBC early in the new millennium. She covered many major stories, including the emerging AIDS crisis in South Africa, the Mozambique floods and the humanitarian emergency of Darfur.[1]

Murder and aftermath[edit]

In February 2005, Peyton was warned by the BBC's Johannesburg bureau chief that there was concern over her perceived lack of focus. When she was asked to travel to Somalia to report on the situation there for the World Service, she saw it as a chance to demonstrate her commitment and improve the chances of her contract being renewed.[3]

On arrival in Mogadishu, Peyton, accompanied by reporter Peter Greste,[4] checked into the Sahafi Hotel.[5] Only a few hours later she was shot in the back while standing outside the hotel, which was popular with politicians and journalists.[3][6] She underwent emergency surgery but died later the same day in the hospital.[5] It was later found by the United Nations that her killing was likely organised by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated military leader, Aden Hashi Farah.[7]

After Peyton's death her family and friends raised questions over how much pressure to take on dangerous assignments was put on producers and reporters retained on short-term contracts.[3][8] At the inquest into her death the coroner stated that while the BBC was not liable for Peyton's death, BBC managers had to recognise that staff had an overriding right to turn down dangerous jobs, regardless of any fears they might have for their future employment.[9][10]

After her death, Peyton's daughter Chloe was adopted by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his wife Marie.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Kate Peyton". The Guardian. 2005-02-11. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Obituary: Kate Peyton". BBC News. 2005-02-10. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  3. ^ a b c "BBC journalist Kate Peyton went to Somalia 'because she felt her job was at risk'". Daily Telegraph. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  4. ^ "BBC defends risk assessment at Kate Peyton inquest". Press Gazette. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  5. ^ a b "BBC producer killed outside Mogadishu hotel". New York. 2005-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  6. ^ "Journalist shot dead in Somalia was in high-risk area, says BBC safety head". The Guardian. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  7. ^ "Al-Qaeda names cell leader". AP. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  8. ^ "'The BBC played hardball over Kate's death,' says brother". The Independent. 2008-11-30. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  9. ^ "Coroner attacks BBC over producer Kate Peyton's death in Somalia". Daily Mail. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  10. ^ "BBC journalist Kate Peyton was unlawfully killed, inquest rules". The Guardian. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  11. ^ "Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: The Fisherman's Friend Sails to the Rescue". The Guardian. 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 

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