Former news correspondent found dead

Monday 06 October 2003 18.18

A journalist found dead at his home had been shattered after losing his job when he faked a report on the war in Iraq, his wife said today.

The body of former Sky News correspondent James Forlong was found by his wife Elaine at their house in Hove early on Saturday morning. He was 44.

Today Mrs Forlong said she and their 15-year-old son Christopher - who has Down's Syndrome - and 12-year-old daughter Katie were in a state of shock.

Mr Forlong resigned from his post of joint defence and royal correspondent in July after he was accused in a BBC documentary of fabricating a report about the firing of a missile into Baghdad.

He was an award-winning journalist who had spent the last 10 years travelling to some of the world's worst trouble spots including Rwanda, Bosnia, Indonesia and Afghanistan.

He was embedded aboard aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the war with Iraq.

But he was suspended last July after a BBC documentary series, Fighting The War, exposed his false report.

Mr Forlong claimed to have a live exclusive aboard the submarine HMS Splendid, but a BBC film crew alleged library pictures were the basis for the report.

The Sky News journalist had fronted coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee and the deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

He began his career in newspapers, with the West Sussex County Times and the Brighton Evening Argus, then became a radio reporter for the BBC.

Mr Forlong switched to television in 1988, reporting for ITN from Somalia, Syria, Lebanon and Bosnia.

He then joined Sky News as Senior Foreign Correspondent in 1993 and worked in South Africa, India and throughout Asia.

David Mannion, head of ITV News, praised Mr Forlong as a decent, honest man who made just one mistake.