Martin Clarke the editor of the Mail Online today told the Leveson Inquiry that a combination of "Human error and over-zealousness" was responsible for an infamous article which wrongly stated that Amanda Knox had failed in her appeal against a murder conviction.
"There were three mistakes... the first one other people made as well which was they misunderstood a verdict being given in Italian."
He's right, there were a number of outlets which made the same mistake and jumped the gun. But the Mail's mistake was arguably made more memorable because it wasn't just the verdict they got wrong. The Mail Online ran an account of how Knox looked "stunned" when the verdict was read out and went on to claim:
"As Knox realized the enormity of what judge Hellman was saying she sank into her chair sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears...Prosecutors were delighted with the verdict and said that 'justice has been done' although they said on a 'human factor it was sad two young people would be spending years in jail'... Following the verdict Knox and Sollecito were taken out of court escorted by prison guards and into a waiting van which took her back to her cell at Capanne jail near Perugia and him to Terni jail, 60 miles away."
None of which happened of course, though Clarke explained this as a failure of process, telling the Leveson Inquiry:
"The second error was we had prepared what in newspaper parlance is called a 'set and hold' ...where you'd have copy ready to roll. That should never have gone out until it had been checked against what actually happened."
The third leg of this unfortunate shambles was a failure to hide the evidence. Clarke said:
"The third error was once we had killed the story we should have done something technical called flushing the cache which would have cleared the story from the internet."
Don't you hate it when people don't flush properly.