Leicester Mercury publishes picture of jailed paedophile despite police warning it could upset victim

The Leicester Mercury has stood by its decision to publish photos of a “sexual predator” in defiance of police.

Leicestershire Police issued a request to local media outlets urging them not to publish photos of jailed Ajay Jetha, who carried out a serious sex attack on a young boy, as the victim’s family told officers doing so would cause “extreme distress”.

The force said in a statement: “We all have a social responsibility, and that includes supporting victims of crime.

“We find it extremely disappointing that the city’s newspaper, which has a core role to play in our community, chose to publish these photographs despite being told of the enormous distress their actions would cause to the young boy and to his family.”

But the regional daily has stood firm over the decision to publish multiple photos in the newspaper and online last week.

It published an editorial to say staff had thought “long and hard” before the publication and pointing out Jetha, who was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years in prison, was judged to be “highly dangerous”.

Probation officers warned he would "take a child off the streets at any time".

The newspaper added: “He did. And there's overwhelming evidence to suggest he will try again. Wherever and whenever he can. It's a matter of time.

“You have a right to know what he looks like. To know the face of a paedophile so unbalanced he used graffiti to seek out young children for sex.”

It also pointed out the Association of Chief Police Officers acknowledges such publication could “assist in deterring potential criminals, prevent subsequent crime and encourage other victims and witnesses to come forward”.

To minimise distress to the victim and his family Leicestershire Police previously asked media outlets not to publish details of the attack on the boy, who is under 13, and the Mercury and others agreed.

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