Jo Yeates' landlord Chris Jefferies: 'I was painted a dark, macabre, sinister villain'
CHRIS Jefferies last night told the Labour Party conference of his ordeal during the Jo Yeates murder investigation.
Mr Jefferies, the landlord of Ms Yeates' Clifton flat, recalled how he was vilified and painted as a "dark, macabre, sinister villain" after being arrested as a murder suspect.
He was later cleared of any wrongdoing and two newspapers were prosecuted for contempt of court over their reporting of his arrest.
Mr Jefferies, who has become a leading voice in calls to reform the media, was speaking at a debate organised by the campaign group Hacked Off ahead of the publication of the Leveson report into press standards.
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"Immediately some sections of the press were willing to believe that the person arrested was the murderer," Mr Jefferies said. He was linked with a second murder, 30 years ago, before anonymous accounts of sexual harassment emerged in tabloid newspapers. "The tabloid world was not content with that. Perhaps to be a sexual predator was not spicy enough. Let's see what further perversion we could discover," he said. A tenuous connection with a convicted paedophile was then reported.
The Hacked Off debate looked at the forthcoming publication of the Leveson report.
Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, said Leveson was "a very important, historic opportunity to deal with a problem which has been wrong in our democracy for many decades".