Sharon O'Neill


These THREE exclusives stories show the breathe of my reporting and my ability to secure agenda setting stories on any subject.

I am a news editor, but a key part of my job is bringing my reporting skills to the paper, helping elevate it to a new level, in print, video and podcast form. 1: Splash and spread 10/7/2022: “I’m lucky to be here says car boot kidnap victim” This was a case which had frightening echoes of Sarah Everard’s murder, but it happened here in Northern Ireland. The survivor in this instance given a voice through us, that so easily could have been taken from her. Initially a court story of man who had admitted kidnap charges, I took it well beyond that. I secured an exclusive interview with the victim, giving an insight into the trauma she had suffered, how the crime unfolded and how the perpetrator was eventually caught. Not only that, I managed to track down a witnesses who heard the victim’s screams saw her feet hanging out of the car. This turned out to be a three-page special – a crime story unlike any other we have covered. Other media outlets scrambled to get the story, but couldn’t. 2: Splash and spread 4/9/2022 OAP paedo’s wife gives him the boot This was the fall-out to a court case which resulted in the longest sentence handed down to a child abuser here. William Patterson abused children at his wife’s childminding business for years. An horrific story how young children were abused when their parents thought they were safe and being taken care of. As everyone scrambled when the sentence dropped, I kept an eye on the story through the courts. I was the first and only person to secure an interview with one of the parents whose three children were abused by this man. I also managed to track down the paedophile’s wife. The outcome – Sunday Life – had the complete story about a man who operated under the radar relying on his standing in the community to ensure the finger of suspicion was never point at him. 3: Splash and spread: Covid killer hospitals 21/08/2022 Outbreaks within two hospitals here at the height of the pandemic resulted in the deaths of 15 people. A major investigation was launched to find out how this could have happened. The findings of that investigation are truly shocking. And before the high-level report was even released, reaching the floor of the NI assembly and delivered by the health minister., Sunday Life obtained a leaked copy. Not only that, we also gave a human face to one of the victims, John Fleming, and told how his family suffered further torment when a letter expressing regret, got the date of his death wrong. This story – all about accountability – and Sunday Life was once again first with it.