London: Police in Britain say it’s possible the reported drones, which grounded flights at Gatwick Airport for one and a half days and caused chaos for more than 100,000 travellers, may have never existed.
The mind-boggling admission came as police released without charge a man and woman they had arrested on Friday night, and said they were no longer suspects.
The couple were named and shamed by the UK tabloid The Mail on Sunday, which published a large front-page photo of them with the headline, “Are These the Morons Who Ruined Christmas?”
Jason Tingley from Sussex Police told the BBC that there was no footage or photographs of the reported drones. There was “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place.”
And from a professor of journalism:
A man and woman arrested then released over the Gatwick drone incident have been ill treated by an incautious media, says media columnist Roy Greenslade
The author says quotes were used selectively to belittle and “undermine the credibility” of the suspect. They stole photos from the couple’s Facebook page showing he had once owned model aircraft – which was apparently evidence of guilt by association. The media then doxxed the couple, showing photos of their home and numerous personal photos from their Facebook page.
Along the way, the press created mass paranoia – anyone flying a “drone” or model aircraft is probably a criminal.
This week – with the Der Spiegel revelations that grow worse by the day – has been an embarrassment for (un)professional media.