After MM’s interview with Matthew Holmes (aka ‘The Derelict Explorer’) was published last month, the piece garnered a lot of unexpected attention.
Comments, most of them negative and many of them aggressively so, began to stream on Twitter and Facebook.
A recurring theme across these comments claimed Mr Holmes – who boasts a huge following on social media – to be a ‘fraud’.
The insults rumbled on. One of the more coherently expressed allegations claimed Mr Holmes ‘was well known in the urban exploring community for his brazen theft of other people’s photographs and Photoshopping himself into them to appear he has been there’.
MM wanted to find out why those making these allegations felt so strongly and what ‘The Derelict Explorer’ himself thought of them.
However, he has not provided comment at the point of publication.
Rob Hannah, from Manchester, is a self-professed urban explorer.
Explaining his feeling towards the situation, he said: “Like most explorers I know, it’s not something we shout about, it’s just something we do because we enjoy it.”
He added: “Matthew Holmes is an interesting character. For someone who sells himself as a lover of history, the purported histories he offers aren’t the most reliable. He’s a laughing stock across the whole community.”
Another explorer, who wishes to be known simply as David, has been exploring for ten years.
He told us: “I’ve never come across such actions in that time like what Matthew Holmes is doing. I’ve only had one picture stolen from him and used […] but it’s still theft.”
A third explorer, known as GRONK (who wishes for their full name to remain anonymous), alleges Mr Holmes, from Flixton, recently stole a photograph that GRONK themselves had published to the dedicated urban exploration site 28 Day Later in September 2015.
The photo GRONK calls into question features the abandoned Camelot Theme Park (which closed in 2012) – a popular spot for urban explorers since its closure because of its eerie post-apocalyptic feel.
GRONK claims the allegedly stolen photograph appeared in an article featuring Mr Holmes on the Liverpool Echo’s website on June 9 this year. The same article appears on the Mirror’s website, published June 7, 2017.
Both articles remain discoverable, but GRONK says the allegedly stolen photo was removed from them both upon his request to the sites’ digital editors via an email exchange on June 10.
The Liverpool Echo has confirmed receiving emails to that effect.
Mr Holmes himself appears in other photographs still featured in both articles.
GRONK presented MM with a screenshot of the email exchange. At the time of their complaint, the editor replied and stated that they were currently out of the office but were ‘asking [their] colleagues to remove the picture without prejudice until we can investigate further’.
The allegedly stolen photograph, GRONK claims, does still appear on a LADBible article, dated May 13, 2017. GRONK said they tried to contact LADBible a number of times, but received no response.
When contacted by MM, LADBible did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
GRONK put together the video above to show the comparison between the photo that appears on 28 Days Later they claim as their own and the photo that appears on the LADBible feature, credited to Matthew Holmes.
Main image courtesy of GRONK, with thanks.