The Tom Stephens interview
Last week a BBC News reporter spoke to Tom Stephens in Ipswich. Their 36-minute conversation was recorded but was intended for background and not for broadcast.
Following Tom Stephens' arrest on Monday, we took the decision to transmit the interview on the basis that there had been an exceptional change in circumstances. The anonymity, which Mr Stephens had sought to preserve by making the interview for background only, no longer applied. His name and many other details about him were very much in the public domain.
We felt there was a compelling public interest in letting the public hear what he had to say. He knew all five of the murdered women, two of them well. He had much to say about the world of drug dealers and financial pressures in which they lived. On balance it seemed to us to be wrong to deny people the opportunity to hear his thoughts on the events of the past few weeks.
Of course, we reflected long and hard about the legal and ethical issues this interview raised. We are confident that nothing we have broadcast could prejudice any future trial. We also reached the conclusion that nothing we broadcast could reasonably be expected to impede the ongoing police investigation. A full copy of the interview had been made available to the police.
Ultimately our judgement was based on what we felt would be right for our audiences - should there be an opportunity to hear the interview or did it remain inappropriate to broadcast something recorded six days earlier on a different basis? In the very rare circumstances of this case, we took the decision to share Tom Stephens' account.