The Chronicle has learned today that Cllr Gina Coles is maintaining in a Facebook post that she did not make the comments attributed to her in our front page story, Friday, August 11.
She says: “This week I was featured on the front page and the whole of page three and the gist of the story was that I said that a woman who ran a recent dog show wasn’t ’the right type’ to do it! Obviously, I didn’t say that it is a total lie and luckily I have a witness who was with me when the alleged conversation took place when I said the fatal words and I also have the emails I am supposedly quoted from, which are free of any such comment.”
Our story was put online on Thursday evening. The picture is of a screenshot of an email sent by Cllr Coles on Friday morning to editor Stuart Nuttall and South Hams Newspapers’ managing director Jackie Smith.
In it she says: “Stuart, Well done. You fooled me completely. I thought we were having a chat. Silly me. I don’t know what I have done to deserve this treatment from you and Roger. I trust that you will allow me to respond and perhaps make some of the points that I made and that you have edited out? Gina.”
She makes no claims about any inaccuracies in our story.
We had reported Cllr Coles’ comments as a matter of public interest, as she is a prominent town councillor and director of Dartmouth Visitor Centre.
Our Dartmouth reporter, Roger Williams, saw no sight of the story until after it was published and had no input.
She is, of course, welcome to write a letter to either expand upon or clarify some of the points she made previously which were the basis of our story.
We are also aware that Dartmouth mayor Cllr Richard Cooke has responded to inquiries concerning our story by saying that it came about due to a long-standing dispute between the Chronicle and Cllr Coles, a former editor of this newspaper from around 2001 to 2007.
This is categorically untrue. None of the current editorial staff have worked alongside Cllr Coles and our interest in her comments stems only from the current positions she holds.