John Cookson

John is an award-winning journalist who started his career in Fleet Street including stints at The Sun, The Sunday People and the Mail on Sunday. During the 1980s John joined Independent Radio News and LBC where he filed reports from across the world including the Iran-Iraq War. As television beckoned in 1989 he was hired by Sky News to report on some major historical events including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first Gulf War and the Balkan civil war.

John left Sky News in 1989 and set up his own production company making films for the UK's Channel 4 and Channel 5 before getting back on the road again with Fox News as he was embedded with US Marines fighting Al Qaeda. While continuing his fruitful reporting career, John also became a qualified solicitor, which is where John first met Peter.

By chance the charity Prisoners Abroad sent John details of Peter being incarcerated in a Dubai hell-hole. Straight after hearing Peters story, John dropped in to meet him in prison, heard the gruesome details  and immediately joined a campaign to get him freed - helping bring the case to global attention. It was this which set in place the campaign to get Peter and fellow inmates freed and years later this became the reality.

Like Peter, John is a life long fan of Leeds United - although John still regards Elland Road's glory years as being when Revie was at the helm and the likes of Bremner, Clarke and Hunter dazzled on the pitch!

It was a hugely emotional moment when Peter and John stood on the Elland Road terraces recently and watched a game together. In the dark days of his incarceration Peter always promised they would - it turned out: he was right!