Here are the best scoops of 2018 as chosen by the Regional Press Awards judges
The Regional Press Awards will be held this Friday in London. Ahead of the big event, Behind Local News takes a look at the stories shortlisted for the Scoop of the Year award:
Bogus doctor’s life of lies, News & Star
Zholia Alemi was a trusted NHS psychiatrist. But her 23-year career was built on lies.
A consultant psychiatrist, whose most recent job saw her working for a dementia service in west Cumbria, Alemi was trusted to provide care for the most vulnerable patients. After she was convicted of faking the will of a grief-stricken widow in an attempt to inherit the pensioner’s £1.3m estate, a News & Star investigation uncovered how the 56-year-old New Zealander exploited a loophole in UK medical registration procedures to pass herself off as a qualified doctor.
Exposed: City’s terror attack defence network left thousands at risk, Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo crime reporter Joe Thomas said: “When a contact sent me footage of a crash in one of Liverpool’s most popular tourist hotspots it left me shocked and concerned.
“For the drunken clubber to mow down a doorman he had to overcome bollards designed to prevent vehicles from entering one of the city’s busiest areas.
“An extensive investigation allowed me to establish crowds across the city were exposed to a terrifying risk despite 12 months of warnings.”
Failing NHS board raided £2.7m from charity fund, The Herald
‘Following a tip off, the Herald revealed in April 2018 that NHS Tayside had spent more than £2.7m of charitable donations from its endowment fund on general NHS spending — mostly on IT equipment — after running out of money.
This was despite the health board being allocated funds from the Scottish Government specifically to bankroll ‘ehealth’ initiatives. However, this cash had been used instead to prop up its accounts.
The scandal saw the chief executive of NHS Tayside ousted from her post within days, and the chairman quit.
Hidden Homeless, Manchester Evening News
Our three-part Hidden Homeless series exposed institutional indifference to the most vulnerable people in our city.
It revealed the slum conditions in B&Bs; the homeless street deaths that are not counted; and the untold stories of homeless children forced to live in dire conditions. We published these at prime audience times and used the power of our social following to get them out to the widest possible audience. The stories have been read more than 100k times.
Property buyers face £90m loss — police consider fraud probe, Liverpool Echo
For more than three-and-a-half years, the ECHO has led the way in covering the crisis of Liverpool’s stalled property developments.
Our flagship scoop from last year was this definitive probe into the true cost of the city’s development disasters. After weeks of research by our reporters, we revealed £90m of money from investors was at risk, and that police were considering a probe into investment fraud. Our work was vindicated in January 2019 when the Serious Fraud Office revealed it was launching an investigation.
Victory, The Mail Barrow
THE deaths of 11 babies and one mother during the UK’s biggest maternity scandal was national news in 2015.
It was a story The Mail knew all too well, having worked with the families in Barrow who had lost loved ones at Furness General Hospital for some time. But, the Nursing and Midwifery Council did nothing. The Mail took its fight for justice all the way to the court room. After an 18-month long battle, the fight for transparency in the public interest was won — and the report was in the hands of the people who mattered the most, the families.