Look what the cat dragged in
In completing the journey, Stott broke two world records and became the first to cycle the highway in less than 100 days. But along the way, he had parted company from some of his support team after disagreements over how the task was approached. This is most likely why he and his wife became the target of anonymous social media attacks.
So far, so uncomfortable, but someone went to the press, and the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday became involved, at which point one crucial detail needs to be added so you can understand developments: Dean Stott is a personal friend of the Duke of Sussex. He met Haz when they were both in the Army. He and his wife attended That Wedding.
And so we arrive at the first MoS attack piece: the headline is a real Oh What A Giveaway moment, and tells you who the target really is. “Prince Harry's special forces soldier friend 'cheated' on world record bike trek to get home for the royal wedding”, it howled. But Guinness World Records had checked out the 14,000 journey. There was no cheating.
But Stott was “Prince Harry’s friend”. The MoS, aided and abetted by other parts of the Rothermere empire, has been humiliated in the courts by the Duchess of Sussex, and so, unable to hurt her and Haz to the extent they would like, appears to have gone after his friends instead, or perhaps that should read In Addition. And they weren’t finished yet.
Haz and Dean ((c) Wheels Down Ball/REX/Shutterstock 2018)
The claim of “cheating” (in quote marks, because without them it would be open and shut defamation and the MoS losing yet another lawsuit) is still there. And then came “Special forces friend of Prince Harry is probed over claims of financial irregularities after world record breaking bike ride that raised £500,000 for charity”. Another hit piece.
Same author - “Mark Nicol, Defence Editor” - although it doesn’t look very “defence” related. Same idea - suggest there is something dodgy about Stott. And, surprise, surprise, same result - there were, and are, no financial irregularities. Also, same actual target - the Sussexes. But attacked via one of their friends. Pour Encourager Les Autres.
Stott’s wife Alana saw her daughter bullied at school. She suffered a miscarriage. She and her husband lost sponsors who didn’t want the press coming after them as well. Their health and their relationship suffered. Somehow, I doubt that Mark Nicol or his editor Ted Verity lost any sleep over their actions. Because they don’t care.
Alana Stott concluded “I now understand that I was intimidated while the public was misled … I have seen what others have been through - for example, Meghan Markle, and Caroline Flack - and it is vile and cruel … It has nothing whatever to do with that ‘freedom of the press’ we keep hearing about … They lie, they distort, they bully and they exploit social media to do their dirtiest work”. And they won’t be stopping any time soon.
Anyone who wonders why Zelo Street is an unswerving supporter of the Hacked Off campaign should wonder no longer. Now Dean and Alana Stott are supporters, too.
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