Matthew Wright apologises for comments on Lewis murder

media captionChannel 5 presenter Matthew Wright apologises for any offence caused to the family of murdered Western Isles teenager Liam Aitchison

TV presenter Matthew Wright has apologised for making jokes while discussing the first murder on the Western Isles in 43 years.

During Tuesday's The Wright Stuff, he did a mock Scottish accent and said "there's been another murder", copying a phrase from detective show Taggart.

The murder of Liam Aitchison, 16, was discussed during a newspaper review.

Panel member Charlie Baker described the probe as "the longest episode of Taggart of all time".

Liam's family have issued a statement through the police criticising the programme.

They said: "We are very disappointed at the insensitive and offensive nature of the comments made on the Channel 5 programme, The Wright Stuff.

"This is very upsetting and insulting for, not just the family, but for the whole community of the Western Isles."

In his apology, Wright, who presents the Channel 5 morning discussion show, said it had not been his intention to "belittle" Liam's death.

He added that those campaigning for people to complain to TV watchdog Ofcom should "grow up".

Channel 5 said it had reviewed the comments made on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman said: "Matthew has apologised in today's programme making it clear that there was no intention to 'belittle the seriousness of a tragic story, or offend anyone who knew Liam'."

A campaign, called Report The Wright Stuff to Ofcom, has been launched by islanders on Facebook urging complaints to be made to television regulator.

The Facebook page has more than 680 followers.

Ofcom has confirmed it has received complaints about the programme.

The SNP MP for the Western Isles, Angus MacNeil, said he had been contacted by a large number of constituents who were disgusted by the Taggart references.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles' local authority, has made a complaint to Ofcom.

image captionWright has apologised for comments made during Tuesday's show

Liam's death marked the first murder on the Western Isles since the late 1960s.

There was a murder inquiry on the islands in 2006 after Murdo MacDonald, 56, was beaten by three men in Stornoway and later died from his injuries.

But charges against three men were reduced to serious assault.

On Wednesday's The Wright Stuff, the presenter said: "I know that some of you have been upset by some comments made during yesterday's newspaper review about the murder of Liam Aitchison in Stornoway and I would like to apologise if that was the case.

"Certainly, no intention on my part to belittle the seriousness, or the tragedy of this story, or to offend anyone who knew Liam.

"You know me, I have been touched by death too many times to belittle anything like that."

He added: "Not helped by people running campaigns 'report Matthew Wright to Ofcom'. I mean, grow up folks."

"Beyond belief"

Northern Constabulary has not commented on the row.

The force launched the murder inquiry on Monday following a post-mortem examination on Liam.

His body was found in the Steinish area of Lewis last week.

Liam, who was originally from Uist, had been reported missing after last being seen in Stornoway on 22 November.

Det Ch Insp Kenny Anderson said on Monday there had already been a "very positive" response from the community in Stornoway.

In a statement released last week, his family told of their "heartbreak" at his death and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

Mr MacNeil said he would be registering a complaint with Ofcom.

He said: "This is a very sad time for the family of Liam Aitchison, and his murder has stunned the local community.

"To see Matthew Wright on his Channel 5 programme yesterday making jokes about the tragedy and behaving as he did is beyond belief, and has disgusted everyone who have seen the programme."

Scottish Celtic singer and mother of three, Kathleen MacInnes, from South Uist, has also emailed a complaint to Ofcom.

She told BBC News Scotland online she had nephews and nieces who had grown up with Liam.

Ms MacInnes said: "As a mother, I was disgusted by a clip of the show I saw on Facebook. His apology was followed by a further insult."

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