Giles Tremlett

The Guardian

Over the past year, Giles Tremlett’s work has masterfully explored the most extreme human situations: the aftermath of murder, the search for one’s own origins, the question of what rights we owe to violent criminals. Despite the sensitivity of the subject matter, Tremlett was able to win the trust of the protagonists over the course of multiple meetings, enabling them to speak with a rare freedom and intimacy. The result is journalism of the highest standard: enthralling, surprising and moving.

In “Three abandoned children, two missing parents and a 40-year mystery”, Tremlett told the story of Elvira Moral, who was abandoned, along with her two brothers, at the age of two, in a train station. As an adult, when Elvira decided to look for her parents, she discovered a family history wilder than anything she had imagined. Over the course of a year, Tremlett followed Elvira on her search for her family, in France and across Spain, painting a vivid portrait of a woman who, in her forties, was finally discovering the truth about her own past. This gripping article became an instant hit upon publication, eventually tallying four million pageviews worldwide, and achieving the highest attention time ever recorded for an article on the Guardian’s website. The result of two years of reporting, “The widow and the murderer: a friendship born of tragedy”, centred on the extraordinary aftermath of the murder of a Basque politician. Thanks to the relationship Tremlett was able to build both with the widow of the murdered politician and with his killer, he was able to achieve the rare feat of detailing a crime from the perspective both of one of its victims and of the perpetrator. More than just a story of two individuals, this feature also told the story of how the terrorist group Eta was eventually defeated – and offers a hopeful vision of the good that can emerge from even the darkest events. If “The widow and the murderer” was partly about history and overcoming the past, “Can a mass shooter demand a good death? The strange case that tested the limits of justice” was a story about the present moment. It concerned a rare and shocking event in Europe: a mass shooting at a workplace by a disgruntled employee. But after the initial crime, the case got even stranger, when the shooter was badly wounded by police. He was paralysed and doctors told him he would need his legs amputated. So the shooter asked for his life to be ended, taking advantage of Spain’s new euthanasia laws. In this unprecedented clash, the right of a person experiencing unbearable and irremediable pain to end their own life was pitted against the right of victims to see their attacker face justice. Through interviews with the shooter’s family and with his victims, Tremlett pieced together this unique story, with its extraordinary legal and philosophical implications, while always keeping the stories of the shooter’s victims at the heart of the piece.