Mixed response to death sentence

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Published: Tuesday 18th November 2014 by The News Editor

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A death sentence handed to one of the Saudi Arabian gang who shot dead a BBC cameraman a decade ago should help draw a line under the tragedy, the journalist who was paralysed in the attack said.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said he hoped the end of the decade-long legal process since the killing of Irish national Simon Cumbers would give “some comfort” to his colleague’s widow and family.

Mr Cumbers’ father Robert said he had “mixed feelings” about the sentence handed down to Adil Sa’ad Al-Dubayti Al Mutayri and sympathised with the parents of the condemned man.

The 36-year-old cameraman – who had also worked for ITN and Channel 4 – was killed instantly and Mr Gardner wounded by a shot that shattered his thigh bone in an ambush while they were filming a piece on al Qaida near the capital Riyadh in June 2004.

All but one of the gang responsible – one of whom fired several more shots into Mr Gardner as he lay on the floor – have since died in shootouts or by blowing themselves up, the correspondent told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There is one who has been imprisoned for nine years and he was given the death sentence yesterday for crimes against the state,” Mr Gardner said, at the end of a trial in which the killer was one of several accused of a number of crimes.

“There is an appeals process that they will go through but he is not contesting the judgment at all

“He is completely unreformed, unrepentant so it looks like that will probably be it, which I think draws a bit of a line under the whole thing.”

He went on: “I am glad that the criminal justice process is finally coming to an end.

“It has taken them forever and I hope that that gives some comfort to the family and widow of my wonderful cameraman Simon Cumbers because he was a lovely guy, brilliant cameraman, utterly professional, he didn’t have a bad bone in his body and he did not deserve to be shot dead by terrorists like that.”

In a family statement issued to Irish broadcaster RTE, Mr Cumbers’ father said: “I have mixed feelings about the sentencing.

“On the one hand, I am pleased that the murderer has had his fate decided and that the long wait is over.

“It won’t bring Simon back, but it puts an end to the waiting.

“On the other hand, both Bronagh and I sympathise with Dubayti’s parents, who must now suffer that tremendous loss that we feel.”

Published: Tuesday 18th November 2014 by The News Editor

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