Hull Daily Mail reporter helps prevent rapist anonymity

A man convicted of raping a schoolgirl in her home almost 30 years ago asked a Crown Court judge to give him anonymity on the grounds that his two children should be protected from publicity.

Recorder Guy Kearl, QC, rejected the application after a protest from Hull Daily Mail court reporter Nicky Harley.

David Bullock’s counsel, Paul Genney, asked the judge for an anonymity order on Wednesday, when his client was jailed for seven years, saying that it was necessary “for Article 8 reasons” connected with his children, a boy aged 12 and a girl aged 10.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to respect for privacy and family life.

Ms Harley objected, saying the court had no power to make any order, and adding that she believed the Hull Daily Mail had already identified Bullock.

When she discovered that the paper had not in fact named him, she immediately told the court, to ensure that the judge was not misled, and the matter was set to be dealt with at a hearing later last week.

Genney argued again that Article 8 rights of Bullock’s children justified an anonymity order, saying publicity about the case would have a serious effect on them.

He also produced a letter from the son’s teacher about the possible effect of publicity.

Harley had arranged for solicitor Nigel Hanson of law firm Foot Anstey to write to the court, setting out the arguments against such an order, and detailing the reasons why the court had no power to make one under either sections 4 (2) or 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

The letter pointed out that in Re Trinity Mirror plc ([2008] 3 WLR 51) the Court of Appeal firmly rejected an attempt to give anonymity to a man convicted of possessing child porn in order to protect his children from publicity about the case, saying that there was no justification for such an order and that identifying those convicted of and sentenced for criminal offences was an important aspect of public interest in the administration of criminal justice.

Harley also handed the court a letter from Bullock’s victim, who said that she had waited almost 30 years to discover who had raped her, and now wanted him to be properly and publicly identified.

Record Kearl rejected the anonymity application, saying: “I find that it would offend public justice not to allow for reporting by the press of this matter.

“It is in the interests of a democratic society to allow that to take place and the balance in this case lies in ensuring the press are able to freely report this.”

He also praised the Hull Daily Mail for its “responsible attitude” in challenging the application.

The court had heard that in 1982 Bullock, who was wearing a Balaclava helmet, raped his schoolgirl victim at knifepoint after breaking into her home.

The attack came just seven months after Bullock, who was then 17, had been released from Borstal, where he had served a sentence for indecently assaulting a woman.

Bullock, now 48, who has since married and had a family, was caught by

Humberside Police’s cold case team, Operation Fox, after his DNA, taken after he was caught for criminal damage in 2007, matched that of the rapist.

He admitted aggravated burglary and raping the girl in December 1982. As well as being jailed, Bullock was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

His victim told the Hull Daily Mail: “This man tore my life to pieces and turned my world upside down.

‘It ended my schooling and I left with no qualifications after this. He destroyed my life.

“I’ve been living a nightmare for 28 years.”

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