Ackroyd: could face prison
The health authority responsible for Moors murderer Ian Brady has launched a legal action to force journalist Robin Ackroyd, who allegedly sold Brady’s medical records to the Daily Mirror, to reveal his source.
Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs top-security Ashworth Hospital where Brady is held, is demanding an order forcing Ackroyd to disclose how he came to have any of the records and to identify the people involved in obtaining confidential records.
Despite a written request from the trust, Ackroyd refused to disclose his source (Press Gazette, 5 July) even though he could face prison.
The trust0is seeking an order forcing Ackroyd to hand over the records in his possession, and an order restraining him from disclosing any information in them.
In addition, Mersey Care seeks an inquiry into damages for breach of confidence or an account of profits, and payment of all sums found due.
Ackroyd had passed on 17 pages of Brady’s medical records to Mirror investigations editor Gary Jones, who wrote the story published on 2 December, 1999, according to a High Court writ.
All staff at Ashworth Hospital, which holds dangerous, violent or criminal people with mental health problems, have to sign a confidentia-lity clause banning them from disclosing information about patients, the High Court will hear.
Ackroyd, now a freelance who has worked for the Yorkshire Post and the Daily Express, received some of Brady’s medical records for October 1999 from an Ashworth employee and passed them to Jones, for a payment of £1,500, it is alleged.
He knew this was a breach of contract and confidence, and that he was not entitled to use the medical records without the hospital’s consent, the writ claims.
Ackroyd said he was the source in June after the House of Lords ruled that the Mirror must reveal its sources on a story about Brady’s hunger strike.
By Sarah Limbrick