News of the World jeopardised Ipswich murder investigation, Leveson told
Marta Cooper: News of the World jeopardised Ipswich murder investigation, Leveson told
19 Mar 12

A retired criminal investigator has accused the News of the World of jeopardising the investigation into murder of five women in Ipswich in 2006.

Testifying before the Leveson Inquiry this morning, Dave Harrison was part of a Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) team deployed to the Ipswich murder inquiry, in which five women were killed between October and December 2006. His team’s objective was to put any suspect under surveillance.

He said he was told that the News of the World had employed their own surveillance team made up of “ex-special forces soldiers, whose objectives were to identify any suspects we were working on, and to identify us and our operation base.”

“Someone in the police had found out that SOCA was being deployed and passed this information to the media,” Harrison wrote in his witness statement.

Harrison added that a surveillance team from the Sunday Mirror was also employed to “pick up and interview” the first suspect in the inquiry. In his witness statement, Harrison wrote that colleagues watched the suspect “being picked up and driven round by a team that carried out anti-surveillance manoeuvres before dropping him off at a hotel to be interviewed.”

Harrison said he believed the News of the World surveillance jeopardised the murder investigation by potentially hindering SOCA’s own surveillance. He told the Inquiry that  a murder suspect, revisiting the scene of the crime, might halt or change his movements if they believed they were being followed. “The evidence would be lost and the prosecution case weakened.”

“If our surveillance had been weakened by having to try and avoid other surveillance teams looking for us, if we had lost the suspect he may have gone on and committed further murders,” Harrison added.

“If we had lost the suspect because of their actions there could have been tragic consequences.”

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