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Killer of former Suffolk journalist Simon Cumbers executed in Saudi Arabia

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 January 2016

Undated picture released by the BBC of Irish freelance cameraman Simon Cumbers, 36, was killed in a shooting Sunday June 6, 2004, in the Saudi capital Riyadh, which left BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, 42, an expert on al Qaida, needing surgery. The shooting came a week after the terror attack that killed 22 people including one Briton and happened as the pair filmed a report about increasing fear among workers in Saudi following that atrocity. See PA story DEATH Saudi. PA Photo: Anthony Massey / BBC. 
ES 7 06 04

Undated picture released by the BBC of Irish freelance cameraman Simon Cumbers, 36, was killed in a shooting Sunday June 6, 2004, in the Saudi capital Riyadh, which left BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, 42, an expert on al Qaida, needing surgery. The shooting came a week after the terror attack that killed 22 people including one Briton and happened as the pair filmed a report about increasing fear among workers in Saudi following that atrocity. See PA story DEATH Saudi. PA Photo: Anthony Massey / BBC. ES 7 06 04

A man convicted of murdering former Ipswich Evening Star journalist Simon Cumbers is reported to have been one of 47 people executed in Saudi Arabia over the New Year.

Mr Cumbers worked on the Star features’ desk for about a year in the 1990s before returning to his home country of Ireland to work in radio.

He later retrained as a news cameraman and was working with the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner in Saudi Arabia in 2004 when they were attacked by Al Quaida.

Mr Cumbers was killed and Mr Gardner suffered serious injuries which means he has to use a wheelchair much of the time.

Adel al-Dhubaiti was convicted of the murder in November 2014 and was sentenced to death. The sentence is understood to have been carried out over the New Year.

Mr Cumbers’ family have said they do not want to comment on the reports – but in 2009 his father Robert told the Meath Chronicle: “Simon was a pacifist, someone who would not have wanted the death penalty and would have opposed it. We do not want this man to be executed if he is found guilty.”

Mr Cumbers was very young when he worked in Ipswich – it was his first job in the UK after leaving university – but he was very enthusiastic and always keen to take on any challenge.

After his death, his family and friends founded the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. The aim of the fund is to assist and promote more and better quality media coverage of development issues in the Irish media.

It has allowed other young Irish journalists to travel to lesser-known parts of the work to report on development issues.

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