The first line of the story underneath proved the headline wasn't literally true:
Nearly 4,000 foreign murderers, rapists and other criminals are roaming the streets, free to commit more crimes.
A factcheck by the excellent Full Fact concluded:
After Full Fact contacted the UKBA, they confirmed that no published breakdown is available for the types of offences these people served a sentence for. Such information could be obtained by a freedom of information request, but no such requests seem to have been made.
So while we know that there are just under 4,000 foreign national offenders living in the community subject to deportation, there's no evidence as to how many of these are guilty of the offences being suggested. This doesn't sit well with the Mail's headline
Perhaps inevitably, then, there's a clarification in today's Mail, which confirms what Full Fact found three weeks ago:
The headline of an article on 3 January suggested that there are 4,000 foreign murderers and rapists in the UK who cannot be deported.
We are happy to clarify that, as the article stated, the figure in fact refers to 3,980 foreign criminals, including murderers and rapists, who are currently subject to deportation orders.
In other words, when the Mail splashed '4,000 murderers and rapists' on its front page, it didn't actually know how many of that 4,000 were guilty of those crimes.
The clarification, however, did not make the front page, where the original error appeared so prominently. Mail editor Paul Dacre said at one of the Leveson seminars in October 2011:
I believe corrections must be given more prominence. As from next week, the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and Metro will introduce a "Corrections and Clarifications" column on page two of these papers.
He said this a couple of months after telling MPs that it was a 'great myth' that corrections are 'buried'.
But today's clarification didn't make page two either. The paper has devoted that page to their 'daily lottery' today. Instead, it's buried towards the bottom of page four:
Quite a difference when compared with the size of the original error - especially from a paper whose editor said that corrections 'must be given more prominence'.
(Thanks to Nick, Steve and Lee for help with the page four image)