Funeral of BBC man Russell Joslin to take place

By Kevin Unitt Tuesday 30 October 2012 Updated: 31/10 18:32

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THE funeral of a BBC Coventry and Warwickshire journalist believed to have taken his own life was set to take place on Wednesday.

Russell Joslin died in hospital last Monday. He had been hit by a bus three days earlier and admitted to Warwick Hospital and then to nearby St Michael's psychiatric hospital, before being readmitted to Warwick as an emergency patient.

An inquest into his death was opened and then adjourned at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington late last week.

Coroner Sean Patrick McGovern revealed a post mortem had been carried out and the preliminary indication was Mr Joslin - the son of former Warwickshire Police chief constable Peter - had died as a result of asphyxiation.

His family have called for an inquiry into how his complaints about alleged sexual harassment, by a female colleague five years ago, were handled by the BBC.

Mr Joslin's brother-in-law Dan Barnard said: "We do not think the BBC is solely to blame for Russell's death. This is too simplistic and factors to explain motives for suicide are usually complex.

"It's true we believe there are questions that need answering by the BBC to explain how it could be that Russell formally expressed his very significant concerns about several things going on at work and yet ultimately was not taken seriously.

"Tragically the stress caused through this, we believe, is a significant contributing factor in understanding what brought Russell to the brink of feeling no other option than to take his own life.”

The 50-year-old from Kenilworth was a journalist for most of his working life, working with the BBC in Coventry and Birmingham after spells as a freelance reporter for several national newspapers.

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire's news editor Sue Curtis, who had known him for nearly 20 years, said he had brought considerable talents to the BBC and added the station had been inundated with kind messages about the reporter.

A BBC spokesperson said: "Our thoughts and condolences are with Russell Joslin's family at this sad time.

"This is a difficult time for everyone who knew him. The BBC is committed to working constructively with the family to ensure that their concerns are vigorously addressed.

"It would not be appropriate to comment further until the facts are established."

Mr Joslin's funeral is to be held in Kenilworth on Wednesday (October 31).

Russell Joslin - a tribute

IT'S all too easy in these Leveson times to accept the lazy stereotype of the journalist as nothing more than a gutter-trawling pariah interested only in tittle-tattle, gossip, and digging the dirt.

For every bad penny there are of course many more good guys. People dedicated to the profession, and with a passion for the profession. Russell Joslin was the epitome of the good guy journo.

I knew Russell for 20 years, all my journalistic career, and it was always a pleasure to bump into him, whether in the street, the pub, or as seem to happen quite often, in the local record shop, as music was another of Russell's great passions.

A warm greeting was often accompanied by an equally warm chuckle as he invariably started with "Have you heard..." or "Did you know...".

Russell was very much an old school journalist, one whose every waking hour meant the possibility of finding a story, a tale he could share with readers/listeners, for that was his raison d'etre.

It was no good expecting Russell to sit in an office all day staring at a computer screen. He was a get on his bike (literally) and get out on patch man, where he could talk face to face with people, an increasingly rare happening in the age of the mobile and email, but still by far the best way.

I remember often calling into BBC CWR's Stratford office - a rather conspicuous cubicle based for a time in the town's library - on the off chance of catching him when he was working as the station's South Warwickshire correspondent. I soon realised I was wasting my time. He was never there. He was always out meeting contacts old and new, and having a chat.

It didn't matter to Russell if you were a butcher, baker, candlestick maker, Mayor or MP, he always seemed to operate on the premise everyone had an interesting story in them, and whether for publication/broadcast or not, it didn't really matter, he wasn't going to pass up a possibly interesting chat.

With Russell's passing the world of journalism has lost one of the true good guys.

Ian Hughes

Editor, The Leamington Observer

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