Met Police under fire again over pictures of killer

Another editor has criticised the Metropolitan Police for not releasing a picture of a convicted murderer.

Andrew Parkes, group editor of Newsquest’s News Shopper series, based in South-East London and Kent, said the Met press office refused to provide a picture of John Barnett, who stabbed his wife to death.

Last week Press Gazette reported the Whitstable Gazette’s anger at the Met’s refusal to provide pictures of a murderer and also of a blackmailer.

The Met said its policy was to judge each request on its merits and to release pictures only if it would lead to other crimes being uncovered or other victims coming forward.

But Parkes told Press Gazette: “The Met turned around to me and said it was a human rights issue and mentioned the Data Protection Act, which are the two things they standardly trot out. Neither of them stop them doing it as far as I am concerned.”

In a page-one comment, Parkes wrote: “John Barnett is a murderer. He knifed his wife and left her to bleed to death. Obviously he must, and will, pay for what he has done. But as well as delivering justice, it is also vital justice is seen to be done. I realise News Shopper being unable to publish a photograph in this individual case may seem insignificant but I am deeply concerned by its implications.

“This is not a new situation and everyone’s human rights are important but if we are forcing our police to make a murderer’s rights their priority where does it leave the victims and the rest of society?”

By Jon Slattery

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