England cricketer Ben Stokes has described The Sun’s front-page story about a private family tragedy from his past as “utterly disgusting” and the “lowest form of journalism”.

The Sun published details of how Stokes’ half-brother and half-sister were shot dead by his mother’s ex-husband more than three decades ago.

https://twitter.com/TheSun/status/1173712141632856065?s=20

According to The Sun’s story, Stokes’ mother’s jealous ex Richard Dunn had weekend custody of his children. He shot them both dead at his flat in Christchurch, New Zealand in April 1988. Dunn then drove to his ex’s home and torched the building. She had left to go to work. Alerted to the fire, armed cops raced to his apartment and Dunn retreated inside. Ten minutes later, they heard two shots and found him dead.

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In a statement, Stokes described The Sun’s article as “low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism”. He said the article deals with “deeply personal and traumatic events” that affected his New Zealand-based family more than 30 years ago. “My family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma inevitably associated with these events and has taken great care to keep private”.

A spokesperson for The Sun said that the newspaper has the utmost sympathy for Ben and his mother “but it is only right to point out the story was told with the co-operation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures”.

After Stokes’ heartfelt statement, a Twitter campaign to boycott The Sun began with hashtags #DontBuyTheSun and #BoycottTheSun.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison also issued a statement condemning The Sun.