Newspaper did not reveal the man behind the mask

Islay O'Hara

The caped crusader is back on the streets of Tunbridge Wells and remains as big a mystery as ever.

Known as Ring Pull Man, he first appeared in the town last summer with a mission to collect as many ring pulls as possible to help support needy children in the Philippines. Part of his appeal was that no one knew his identity.

Then he was ‘unmasked’ in August by the Courier newspaper and named as Steve Burnett, a ‘wealthy businessman’ and managing director of a recycling company in Hadlow. The story talked about Mr Burnett’s ‘former long running drug problem’.

But Mr Burnett denied he was the man riding round on a unicycle and reported the Courier to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) which investigates complaints against the media.

Last week IPSO ruled against the Courier stating that it was significantly misleading for the newspaper to claim that it had established that the complainant was Ring Pull Man – and had confirmed it with him – when it had not done so.

IPSO did concede it was unable to establish ‘conclusively’ whether or not the complainant was indeed the masked character.

This week Ring Pull Man told the Times that he would ‘never’ reveal his true identity as it would distract from his mission of helping needy children.

He said: “The main message is this: It is not important who I am but who I am trying to help.”

The mysterious figure has been collecting ‘thousands’ of ring pulls and sending them to the Philippine Community Fund where they are turned into jewellery for sale.

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