FORMER Suffolk Police chief Stewart Gull this week gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking and the relationship between the police and Press.
In his statement, the detective superintendent, now head of crime services for Jersey Police, spoke about his lead role in the investigatipon into the murder of five women in Ipswich in December 2006 which led to the conviction of Steve Wright.
In his statement, he said the media had played an important role in the investigation to deliver appeals for information and also to provide messages of reassurance to the local community.
On the whole the media strategy had been successful, he told the inquiry.
Det Spt Gull said he was unaware of any leaks from Suffolk Police to the media or ‘off the record briefing’ in the investigation, but he did say that there had been ‘unhelpful, unjustified and unbalanced’ media reporting which became subject to legal challenge by Wright’s defence team.
There had also been warnings issued by the Attorney General and chief constable at the time about responsible reporting.
In evidence, Det Spt Gull said he had been concerned at headlines which had appeared in the national press, some of which were an ‘unecessary distraction.’
He also gave evidence about the interviewing by the BBC and the Daily Mirror of a second suspect who was subsequently eliminated from the inquiry.
Det Spt Gull left Suffolk Police in July 2010 to transfer to Jersey Police.
He has been a serving officer since 1981 in uniform and CID, at one time holding rank of assistant chief constable. He led many major crime inquiries including murder, kidnap and rape.