Described by a former editor as “one of the most prolific reporters of his generation”, Richard Edwards was an award-winning journalist at the Daily Telegraph, London Evening Standard, and Western Daily Press.
Richard witnessed and reported on some of the biggest stories of the early 21st century, both in Britain and internationally. One in eight of his articles, published between 1995-2015, was front page news.
The die was cast for Richard as a 15-year-old when Frank Keating, a masterful raconteur and the ‘king of British sports writers’, spoke at his school. Keating became a mentor, and guided Richard to learn the trade as a news reporter.
Richard first articles were published in 1995, aged 16, during a summer placement at Birmingham Metronews. At university, he became the Sports Editor of Cherwell, the student newspaper at Oxford; placements and scholarships followed at The Times, Sunday Times, and an internship at the Orange County Register in America – where he got his first taste of a front page byline – before Richard was taken on as a full-time reporter at a regional newspaper, the Western Daily Press, aged 21.
Richard’s big break was being sent to Iraq, in 2003, at the outbreak of conflict. At 23, he was the youngest war correspondent on the frontline, and his writing as an ’embedded’ reporter with the Royal Marines as they advanced through southern Iraq and entered Basra, won Richard his first national journalism awards.
On his return, he was poached by the London Evening Standard. Richard worked as a general reporter covering breaking news – everything from the Hutton Inquiry and the Asian Tsunami, through to the Football World Cup in Germany, where ‘Wags’ infamously entered the British lexicon. As the paper’s crime reporter, Richard led the coverage in 2005 of the London bombings, the hunt for the 21st July bombers and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. In that year alone, he wrote more than 120 front page stories.
In 2007, Richard moved to The Daily Telegraph, and within weeks was dispatched to Portugal to cover the first reports of a missing three-year-old girl. He remained in Portugal reporting on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann for more than four months as the investigation unfolded.
Richard became respected as one of the Telegraph’s most senior reporters, supporting the award-winning Parliamentary expenses story, and writing about a wide range of news stories including the 2010 General Election, the Princess Diana Inquest, health scares, foreign affairs, consumer trends, and of course, Britain’s staple of celebrity, travel and weather stories.
Promoted to crime correspondent, Richard conceived and carried out a series of influential interviews with chief constables, and covered the long tenure of Theresa May as Home Secretary, along with the politics of Scotland Yard. Across his time at the Standard and Telegraph, he reported on every major crime story of the era, including around 180 murders and high-profile cases such as Jill Dando, Milly Dowler, Rachel Nickell, the Ipswich prostitute killings and the Cumbrian shootings.
In 2009, Richard was trained in broadcast journalism, becoming one of the faces of the Telegraph on TV and radio. He recorded daily pieces to camera for Telegraph TV, broadcast via its website, and reported live from the G20 protests in London (where he was also part of the first team to live-tweet a major breaking news story from the scene). Richard appeared as an expert guest for various broadcasters, including BBC radio documentaries about policing protests, and war reporting. He also made regular appearances as an expert commentator on BBC News, Radio 4, Radio 5 Live and Sky News, as well as international TV and radio stations in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and Ireland.
Alongside his journalism, the Telegraph supported Richard in writing a book about his late father, Gwynne Edwards, a prominent classical musician. It was published in 2009 to coincide with a concert at Cadogan Hall in London which marked the centenary of his birth.
After a year’s travels with his wife in 2011, Richard chose a different direction on his return, closing his career where it all started, as a sports writer. As well as writing county cricket reports for the Telegraph, he took freelance commissions to cover cricket’s spot-fixing scandal for the Times, Evening Standard and The Cricketer magazine. Tweeting and blogging from the courtroom, every hour of every day of the criminal trial of three Pakistan cricketers, was another social media first (attracting 5,500 followers in five weeks).
A feature essay, commissioned to appear in Wisden (cricket’s ‘bible’) in 2012, was described by reviewers as a “compelling” and “magisterial” account of the saga. A final honour followed, when this piece was selected to feature in a collection of articles by the game’s leading writers over the past 150 years – heroes including Frank Keating – in The Essential Wisden, the official anthology of the Wisden Almanack.