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Truth behind Tomlinson footage

By Alex Thomson

Updated on 13 April 2009

I've had a number of inquiries about this so I thought I'd just set the record straight on what is an unlikely tale but true nonetheless, writes Alex Thomson.

Yes, the video we showed last week of the riot policeman lashing out at Ian Tomlinson with a baton, just before Mr Tomlinson died, did indeed come from our camera damaged that day. And the sequence of events is as follows.

We'd been reporting live from Cornhill in the City of London and I asked Ken McCallum the cameraman, if he'd mind panning around and taking a look at a group of what appeared to be three bankers who had, it seemed, suddenly arrived on the scene to bait the protesters.

I'd seen at least one of this group of three much earlier in the day. Bluntly, I thought they were about to get whacked as there were a lot of angry people. In fact nothing of the kind happened.

But as Ken locked on to these three men, in the background Mr Tomlinson was apparently getting hit and shoved to the ground.

Not on the look-out for this, none of our team of four on the ground noticed it at all.

All our attention was fixed on these three bankers in the foreground. A classic illustration that the human mind often will only register what it is expecting to see, not what actually passes before it.

We thought no more about it. It was clear that a man had gone down. We filmed the ambulance arriving.

We knew we were close to something but could not see Mr Tomlinson and did not know precisely where he had collapsed.

About half an hour after that we were doing various live broadcasts for More4 News.

Now here I have to be very careful because what happened next is in the hands of m'learned friends and the police. Suffice to say there was an incident and after the incident the camera was broken.

Can't say more - save for this: it took several days for our engineers to retrieve the camera tape. And lo and behold, that tape revealed the critical shot of Mr Tomlinson apparently being batoned by a riot policeman who has since come forward.

It was something of a missing link, the story of Ian Tomlinson's last moments..

So that's what happened for anybody who cares to know. Yes, the interrupted live broadcast on More4 News and the report last week on Channel 4 News on the last minutes of Ian Tomlinson, are very definitely connected.

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