THE Oxford Mail and its sister paper The Oxford Times have been shortlisted for three accolades at the prestigious Society of Editors British Regional Press Awards.

Crime reporter Ben Wilkinson is nominated for Daily/Sunday Reporter of the Year for his coverage of the notorious Bullfinch court case.

Seven men arrested under Thames Valley Police’s Operation Bullfinch were convicted of grooming, drugging and abusing young girls in council care from 2004 to 2012 after an 18-week trial and were sentenced to a total of 95 years.

Ben was nominated for an interview with a trial witness and his coverage of the verdicts and sentence at London’s Old Bailey.

Our 24-page supplement Bullfinch: The Full Story was nominated for Supplement of the Year and deputy picture editor Richard Cave was nominated as weekly photographer of the year for a portfolio of work for The Oxford Times.

Oxford Mail Editor Simon O’Neill said: “To be nominated for three such prestigious awards is a great honour and testimony to the commitment and quality of the journalists and photographers we have here in Oxford.

“I am delighted for Ben, Richard and all those who worked so hard on our coverage of the Operation Bullfinch trial.

“However, as two of the nominations are for our coverage of Bullfinch, any celebrations will be very muted indeed.

“We would give up both those awards if it meant the events of that horrific and disturbing case had never taken place.”

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on May 16.