The Sun denies advance notice of attack on Man Utd executive's home

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The Sun

The Sun has denied having prior knowledge of an attack on the home of Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, which it reported on last month.

On the evening of January 28th, a group of hooded figures was filmed targeting Woodward's house in Cheshire and red flares were thrown over the gates of his property.

United have since lodged an official complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) over The Sun's coverage of the incident, alleging that the newspaper knew in advance about the attack.

In a statement, the club said it believed the tabloid "had received advance notice of the intended attack, which included criminal damage and intent to intimidate".

The club said a journalist was present at the time of the attack and that the "quality of the images" featured in its report suggested a photographer was also in attendance. Other media outlets reported on the incident using stills from social media footage filmed as the attack took place.

United said the journalist who was at the scene had failed to "discharge the basic duty of a responsible member of society to report an impending crime and avert potential danger and criminal damage".

The club said his presence "both encouraged and rewarded the perpetrators", adding: "We believe that this was a clear breach of both the IPSO editors' code and journalistic ethics."

The Sun has denied that it had prior knowledge about the manner of the protests and said it was "happy to cooperate fully with any police inquiry".

"The Sun condemns fully the attack on Mr Woodward's home and is happy to cooperate fully with any police inquiry," said a spokesman for the newspaper.

"However The Sun, like all newspapers, vigorously defends its right to report. Following a tip-off that there was to be a protest a Sun reporter attended.

"The Sun accurately reported the events that unfolded. At no time was our reporter made aware of what was to take place nor incited it or encouraged any criminal activity. The article made it clear that the behaviour was criminal and unacceptable.

"The Sun supports wholeheartedly the Editors' Code Of Conduct and will defend the complaint to IPSO."

Cheshire Police is still investigating the incident, having been notified about criminal damage at Woodward's property at around 10.45pm on January 28th.

Last month The Sun's chief football writer, Neil Ashton, left the newspaper to become Woodward's PR adviser.