Another day, another measure of depravity from the Murdoch press, with evidence from Dave Harrison, a member of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, who worked the 2006 investigation into the Ipswich killings, a particular series of prostitute killings in East Anglia. News of the World was also on the case. Following leads? No. Examining angles the police had rejected? No. It was following SOCA’s surveillance team, which was attempting to spot the killer in Ipswich’s streetwalk areas.

NotW hired ex-special forces personnel to try and identify the SOCA team, suspects and witnesses who could be offered exclusive deals. The investigation was an urgent one — the murderer, Steve Wright, murdered five women in two months, an extremely rapid clip for a serial killer — and any disruption to it would have increased the possibility that there would be additional victims.

As Harrison noted in his written evidence to the inquiry, the additional surveillance more than doubled the possibility that Wright would spot the surveillance, limit the possibility that he would return to crime scenes, and made it more difficult for the SOCA surveillance team to themselves remain incognito. NotW offered £250,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the killer — the sort of rarely helpful bullshit that papers do. Meanwhile, they were endangering the capture of a killer.

Still, it was a huge story for the red-top tabloids. Imagine how big it would have been if 10 women had been killed? –

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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