Leveson Inquiry hears Jefferies name 'leaked by police'

Christopher Jefferies: "There was feverish interest in talking to me. In hindsight, it seems remarkable"

The landlord wrongly held over Joanna Yeates's murder was told by police that his name was "inadvertently" leaked to the press when he was arrested, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.

In his witness statement, Christopher Jefferies said he was told an internal inquiry at Avon and Somerset Police had led to the arrest of two people.

However, no-one was charged, he said.

He also suggested police gave reporters information about a witness statement he made, but police have denied this.

In other developments on Tuesday:

Mr Jefferies was making a second appearance before the inquiry, which is examining media standards and ethics.

In November, he told the inquiry that the media had "shamelessly vilified" him and decided he was guilty of Miss Yeates's murder, which happened in Bristol in December 2010.

Mr Jefferies, who owned Miss Yeates's flat in Canynge Road, Bristol, was questioned by detectives for two days but released without charge.

During that time, several newspapers carried lengthy stories about him. Mr Jefferies later received a libel payout from eight national newspapers over stories published about him.

Dutch national Vincent Tabak - a neighbour of Miss Yeates - was later convicted of murdering the landscape architect and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in jail.

During his trial, it was revealed that Tabak had implicated Mr Jefferies by telephoning police and making false allegations against him.

'Open season'

Three months after his initial testimony to the Leveson Inquiry, Mr Jefferies was recalled to give evidence on the relationship between police and press.

Mr Jefferies told Tuesday's hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice: "We do have confirmation from Avon and Somerset Police that, as they put it, inadvertently my name was disclosed."

His witness statement said he "recently received" a letter from the chief constable of the force confirming his name was leaked to the press when he was arrested.

"The letter refers to an 'inadvertent' disclosure by the police but provides no details, which prevents the explanation being investigated or verified," he said in his statement.

The statement went on: "The fact that the police leaked my name to the press at the time of my arrest led to 'open season' against me in the media."

He also told the inquiry details about what he said in a second statement to police appeared in newspaper reports, but with some details incorrectly reported.

He said he had told "no more than three neighbours" about the statement and they assured him they were not the source.

'Feverish interest'

But counsel to the inquiry, Robert Jay QC said: "There was no leak that they (Avon and Somerset Police) had been able to discover as the result of an internal investigation."

Mr Jefferies said he thought police also passed on their concerns about him to reporters, leading to "feverish" interest in talking to him on 29 December 2010.

"The fact this happened the day before I was arrested certainly, in hindsight, seemed to me to be remarkable," he told the inquiry.

Mr Jefferies told the inquiry it should be a "far more serious offence" for police who disclose inappropriate information.

The Leveson Inquiry has two parts, the first of which is examining relations between the press, politicians and police, and the conduct of each.

The second part will look at the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International and other media organisations.

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