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Is Martin Brunt’s Career Over After Brenda Leyland ‘McCann Troll’ Suicide



Original Source: Crime Jail Tuesday 07 October 2014

CrimeJail editor
October 7, 2014


Skynews is clearly embarrassed after the suicide of McCann Twitter Troll Brenda Leyland.  Now, Martin Brunt has vanished from Twitter and is apparently “on leave”.

The entire case is reminiscent of those cowboy builder programmes – the subject, when tracked down, turns out to be less cowboy, more human who made some bad decisions.

Brenda Leyland turned out not to be much of a troll after all – just Inflammatory and angry.  Sky handled the story like a child caught raiding the cookie jar. When the suicide news broke – dull presenter Mark Longhurst was on air.  Longhurst, a generic, “sexless old fart” (as one Twitter user described him),  was presenting Press Preview and literally choked on his words, editing out the bit where Sky News was mentioned.  Since then, Sky News has done everything possible to avoid covering the suicide, having initially devoting coverage every 15 mins.

Calls for Martin Brunt to be sacked:

Martin Brunt, Sky crime correspondent was the man who carried out the live exposé of Brenda Leyland as she headed to her 4×4 in the peaceful Leicestershire village of Burton Overy.  He lied to her, stating that police were involved. They were not (or at least not at the time).  Brunt also picked an easy target.  A woman of 63 instead of, for example, some teenage thug from a rough estate.   Now, there are Facebook pages calling for Brunt to be sacked.  To be fair, only a handful of ‘votes’ of ‘likes’ have been made.

Private meeting with Brenda Leyland

Off camera, Brunt was invited inside for a private meeting.  We hear a “come inside Martin” from Leyland.  Brunt would have seen the real woman behind the tweets and probably discovered  a perfectly pleasant 63 year old.  After all, Leyland called him Martin three times during the on- camera encounter, suggesting she listens, cares enough about people to use their name, and is probably not a detached monster.  Brunt will probably be mortified that Leyland then fled to a hotel where she apparently committed suicide.

During Brunt’s off-camera meeting in the home of Leyland it is likely she asked him when the piece would be aired and begged him not to show it.  Wouldn’t you? He will be feeling guilty now.  No undercover reporter wants to discover that the target of their exposé is actually ‘quite nice’.  We’ve seen this phenomenon on those cowboy builder programmes.  The presenter buckles and flounders when the cowboy turns out to be a human being.

Who is Martin Brunt?

Martin Brunt made his name covering the McCann case. He was the most prominent face of all reporters that stood outside the Portugal apartment presenting regular updates.  He is likely one of the most highly paid news reporters in the British media.  He is approaching 60 and will likely not be seen on screen again.  He is tainted.  How can he report on similar cases now?

In his career, Brunt has covered many breaking crime stories from Amy Winehouse to the hunt for Raoul Moat to the 7 July events in London.  He is not known as an ‘undercover reporter’ and his doorstepping of Leyland seemed a departure from his normal reporting.  Almost a deliberate act by someone fed up with their job and looking to leave.  He is too senior, too experienced to need to cover this.  Sky should have given the task to a younger, less experienced reporter.

What troll?

Fact is – Leyland’s tweets were on the mild end of the scale.  Far from hiding behind her computer, Leyland actively tweeted national newspapers and well known people, sharing her opinions about the McCann’s.


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