Did a Star Trek fan who had claimed his wife died during a teleportation experiment get sentenced to life in prison for murder? No, that's not true: The story was fabricated by a Canadian entertainment website that publishes fictional stories about bizarre crimes, weird sexual acts, and other made-up events. The mugshot was lifted from another true story, and the names were changed in this fictional account.
The claim originated from an article published by World News Daily Report on December 17, 2019, titled "Star Trek fan who claimed wife died during teleportation experiment sentenced to life in prison for murder" (archived here). It opened:
A Washington judge has sentenced a Seattle man to life in prison after he was found guilty by a jury of second-degree murder.
Lucy Cranbrook, 23, was found dead last July in her home after having suffered from third-degree burns as she had been exposed to temperatures estimated in the upwards of 108°F (42°C).
Lucy Cranbrook's husband, Wesley Cranbrook, 28, had told police at the time that his wife had willfully been part of a "teleportation experiment" inside a high-frequency machine he had built according to the official police report.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Star Trek fan who claimed wife died during teleportation experiment sentenced to life in prison for murder
A Washington judge has sentenced a Seattle man to life in prison after he was found guilty by a jury of second-degree murder. Lucy Cranbrook, 23, was found dead last July in her home after having suffered from third-degree burns as she had been exposed to temperatures estimated to be upwards of 108
The story, like others on this site, is a work of fiction. The mugshot featured in the article is actually from a post by Fox 7 Austin about an Oregon man with a different name who was convicted on January 18, 2019, of sexually assaulting a horse.
The text for the story was lifted word-for-word from at least three other sites (here, here, and here). One of those sites has had its web-hosting account suspended.
The website World News Daily Report is a humor website specializing in posting hoaxes and made-up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about this, although readers have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:
World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.
On March 20, 2019, the site added a new header that included the slogan "Where facts don't matter" to make it clear to casual visitors that the published content is fictional:
The site often uses images, stolen without attribution, from real news websites - sometimes showing real people who have nothing to do with the story. For example, here:
Woman Says Newborn Photo Stolen for Satirical Fake News Story
World News Daily Report is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often, their stories feature an image showing a random mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the Internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.
Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:
A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.
According to NewsGuard, the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before; here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
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- Fake News: Florida Fisherman NOT Lost at Sea For 14 Days, Did NOT Claim He Was Sexually Assaulted by Mermaids
- Fake News: Elderly Woman NOT Accused of Training Her 65 Cats To Steal From Neighbors
- Fake News: NO 5-Meter Tall Human Skeleton Unearthed In Australia
- Fake News: NO New Jersey Brother And Sister Allowed To Marry After 10-year-long Court Battle