Patrick Strudwick


After the fall of Kabul, Patrick Strudwick was the first to expose the plight of LGBT people fleeing the Taliban. These two features form part of a series of exclusives documenting what was happening on the ground as this minority began to be targeted and killed. In the first piece, the interviewees were still in hiding, speaking via WhatsApp and Zoom, and risking their lives by talking to a journalist, with, in one case, the Taliban standing outside his window. One man revealed that his boyfriend had already been murdered and his body parts paraded around as a warning.

These shocking accounts prompted a huge reaction globally, with calls across Britain, the USA and beyond to rescue LGBT people from Afghanistan, including MPs and members of the House of Lords. One of the interviewees then provided Patrick with a list of over 250 names of LGBT people in the country that needed to be evacuated — which Patrick passed to the Foreign Office and Home Office. Some of whom became the first to be rescued. Among them was a man who invited Patrick to visit the hotel in which new LGBT arrivals in Britain had been kept. He was the only journalist to gain access. This second piece reveals the terrifying ordeal gay Afghans underwent as they eventually escaped Kabul — being beaten by the Taliban in the process — only to spend months in third countries awaiting safe passage to Britain. It explored the complex reality facing those who, to save themselves, had leave their lives and families behind, knowing they may never return. To secure these exclusives, Patrick became embedded in the specialist organisations trying to help these refugees. His contacts through a global network of human rights defenders, and his empathetic style of interviewing, enabled him to access to some of the most vulnerable people who might otherwise not speak to the media.

Another example of work is a portrait of child sexual abuse, the grooming surrounding it, and the aftermath which destroyed the life and career of one of Britain’s most promising new actors: Chris New. For the first time, he revealed being raped at 14 by a trusted teacher and the decades it took to understand what happened: why he was singled out for abuse, and why he as a young gay teenager from a chaotic, impoverished family, stayed silent. But in an extraordinarily sensitive description of the impact it had, this piece also describes how New began to unpick his past, seek help and change his life. It captures some of the wider backdrop too: why men often tell no one, why people often don’t listen or believe victims and what it takes to face the buried trauma. The story was the result of months of off-the-record discussions between Patrick and New —which itself only came about 5 years after he approached New about a story involving another abuser. Following publication, Survivors UK saw an uptick in calls and demand for their services.