Terror death journalist remembered

EVENING Star journalists were today rembembering a former colleague who was murdered by terrorists in Saudi Arabia at the weekend.Simon Cumbers, 36, was an ace cameraman working for the BBC when he was shot dead in the capical Riyadh.

EVENING Star journalists were today rembembering a former colleague who was murdered by terrorists in Saudi Arabia at the weekend.

Simon Cumbers, 36, was an ace cameraman working for the BBC when he was shot dead in the capical Riyadh.

He began his British journalism career with the Star after leaving his native Ireland in 1988.

He worked as a features writer before leaving Ipswich to return to Ireland to work on a radio station.

He later worked as a television and radio reporter before retraining as a news cameraman - a job which took him all over the world.

Evening Star sub-editor Judy Rimmer worked with Simon in the Star's features department and remembers him as someone who was always laughing.

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"He was a very charming character, definitely had the gift of the gab and had a great sense of humour," she said.

"He was somebody who was always ready to tackle any job.

"I don't think Simon had been away from Ireland much before he came here and he was probably quite homesick at times, but he was always cheerful and full of enthusiasm."

The attack also left BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner seriously injured.

Mr Gardner, 42, an expert on al Qaida, needed surgery following the attack in the southern district of Suweidi.

Saudi TV showed a dark-haired man sitting, half-upright, in the middle of a street, two bloodstains visible on his white shirt.

The shooting came a week after the terror attack that killed 22 people including one Briton.

It happened as the pair filmed a report about increasing fear among workers in Saudi following that atrocity, the BBC said.

Richard Sambrook, BBC director of news, said: "We are still trying to establish exactly what took place and we are in touch with their families."

Mr Sambrook added: "Our thoughts are with the families of Simon and Frank.

"We are in touch with them and offering them all the support that we can. We are seeking more details about what happened in this incident.'

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw paid tribute to the two journalists.

"I extend my sympathy to the family of the cameraman who was killed and my thoughts are with Frank Gardner, his family, colleagues and friends.'

Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman, said the shootings were "no coincidence'.

"This is extremely sad news and my condolences go to Simon Cumbers' family and friends,' he said.

"I also send my hopes for a speedy recovery to Frank Gardner and his family.

"It is no coincidence that BBC staff should be targeted in this way.

"This tragic incident demonstrates that everyone in public life or who reports upon it is in the front line and treated as fair game by terrorists."

Do you remember Simon Cumbers? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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