Sun six trial: Broadmoor inmates watching porn and killer on suicide watch among leaked stories

A former clinical director at Broadmoor Hospital said yesterday its notorious inmates have a right to watch soft pornography.

Dr Kevin Murray said it would be a waste of public money if the high security psychiatric hospital tried to restrict what its patients watched.

He told jurors Broadmoor was like Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital – not a prison like Belmarsh or Dartmoor.

Murray criticised a number of "pejorative" articles The Sun had published about inmates at the high security prison.

Nigel Rumfitt QC, defending former head of news at The Sun, Chris Pharo (pictured above: Reuters), 45, said the public would be unhappy to know inmates at Broadmoor could watch pornography.

Murray replied: "The public knows television has a wide range of channels… Broadmoor has televisions.

"In the sense that Great Ormond Street is a hospital so is Broadmoor, it's not a prison like Belmarsh or Dartmoor.

"If patients choose to spend benefits on that then that is their choice.

"I'm not sure it's possible to restrict what they watch. It would cost a great deal of money and you would question whether it was a good use of public money."

In late December 2008 The Sun published the story "Rachel killer on suicide watch" about serial killer Robert Napper.

Murray said: "It seems to me that this doesn't meet the definition of the public interest as set out in the Editors' Code of Practice.

"This man was awaiting trial for a very serious offence [manslaughter], and his medical history was not part of the allegation."

The Sun published another story about Napper allegedly striking a deal with police to admit killing Rachel Nickell if he could keep his benefits with the headline: "I will admit killing if I can keep 12k benefits."

According to the story Napper had accumulated a nest egg of approximately £12,000 from benefits during his stay at Broadmoor.

Rumfitt argued that the contents of story published by the story were largely accurate.

Murray said: "My concern is with the way the story was personalised.

"Some of it is entirely inaccurate, by which I refer to the claim that money was something particularly important to this patient.

"It is factually inaccurate.

"The point is that there was a man on this patient's ward who was revealing information about this patient.

"I don't have an issue with a public debate whether patients should receive benefits – for what it's worth we may be on the same side of the coin in this argument.

"But revealing matters about this patient's mental state is in my view totally unacceptable."

The Sun published another picture exclusive of Napper inside Broadmoor grounds, allegedly showing him feeding chickens and rabbits in late 2008.

Murray criticised the press for its "pejorative" description and handling of Napper and other inmates.

He said: "There are specific sections of the Editors' Code of Practice dealing with privacy, in particular privacy in hospital, and both of those sections are qualified in relation to public interest and what that means in relation to the code."

Murray told the court "we would have to change our running of the hospital" if the Editors' Code permitted photographers to work on the hill overlooking Broadmoor.

He added: "Our expectation in the running of the hospital is that people are in keeping with their codes.

"If the press choose to disregard the Editors' Code of Practice, it is clear that there is little that can be done about that."

Rumfitt argued that the public had a right to know if Broadmoor was run effectively.

Murray responded: "In terms of serving the public interest the public safety has been entirely maintained.

"We run a regime that provides treatment for patients and safeguards the public.

"What is the evidence that the hospital was not being effectively run?

"Broadmoor is a highly-scrutinised hospital – there is no general concern about the way in which it serves its purpose."

He added that the possibility of an inmate from Broadmoor escaping had been "consigned to history".

Rumfitt said that it was highly unlikely a killer as notorious as Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe would ever escape the public limelight.

Murray replied: "One of the things that prevents it from happening is the constant series of stories in the press about them.

"If a court decides to send somebody to hospital rather than prison they accept that they are sending them to a treatment setting rather than a punishment setting."

Rumfitt said some of the stories written by The Sun had not heightened the risk to security inside Broadmoor.

But Murray said the stories might have increased the risk to killers like Napper and Sutcliffe.

"There were other stories that certainly did [increase the risk to safety].

"One example is where we took Peter Sutcliffe out on compassionate leave to the Lake District.

"The effort we had to make to ensure that the leave of absence went safely and securely reflected the culture in which we were working.

"Within the hospital the likelihood of an attack on more notorious patients, in my view, increased."

Richard Kovalevsky, QC, defending Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt, 51, said notorious inmates at Broadmoor should expect a greater public interest in their activities.

Murray replied: "My contention is that the same rules apply in Broadmoor [about patients and dignity]… As a doctor it is my duty to preserve the dignity of the patients by referring to them by their names."

Kovalevsky suggested Murray's view was that the public had no right to know what happened to patients at Broadmoor after their conviction.

"Those actions in public, yes. Those actions in private, no," he said.

"Healthcare should be taken forward in privacy.

"I would distinguish between Peter Bryan [a convicted murder] killing somebody in Broadmoor and the personal hygiene of of one my patients.

"The continual drip of largely irrelevant stories, in particular about patients having turkey dinners, is counter therapeutic.

"These are people in hospital receiving treatment with an expectation of privacy."

Kovalevsky suggested the public was entitled to information from inside Broadmoor.

Murray replied: "The public need to be furnished with accurate information.

"While people are patients their healthcare records are private and confidential."

Kovalevsky said that if inmates were released from Broadmoor, possibly to a less secure prison, then the public had a right to know.

Murray said: "Tribunals are courts. If the public wish to know what happens, the tribunal service is the body that would make it known."

In June 2008 Lee Porritt, a former Broadmoor inmate, told The Sun that staff had allowed him to watch violent sex DVDs in his room.

Kovalevsky suggested it was "something the public needed to know about".

Murray explained: "If videos are available to the general public, they may also be bought by patients.

"If one of my patients wanted to watch films of the kind, I would be worried why they wanted to do that."

Kovalevsky then referred jurors to a story in The Sun about a Zimbabwean nurse Rhoda Makambaire was arrested over claims she had a four-month affair with a Broadmoor inmate.

Kovalevsky said the incident meant security had been heightened inside Broadmoor.

"People [at Broadmoor] worked in a large group and that's how this came to light," Murray answered.

Later Kovalevsky referenced another Sun story concerning Peter Bryan, who was let out of Broadmoor to have an operation on an in-growing toenail.

The article insinuated Bryan, a convicted cannibal killer, was "walking among" the public.

But Murray said: "The description of him being allowed to walk among them, when you observe the photograph of the security surrounding Peter Bryan, shows that this was greatly exaggerated.

"We prefer to have operations carried out at Broadmoor."

In 2005 The Sun reported that Sutcliffe had been allowed a day's compassionate leave to visit his father's ashes – he was forbidden from attending the funeral.

Murray said: "We would not wish to disturb what is a family event, the funeral of a father.

"The rights Peter Sutcliffe forfeited were set out very clearly in court – he lost his liberty.

"But it does not say that he won't be allowed out on compassionate leave."

In October 2008 The Sun published another story, "Sick or Treat", which described how a Halloween party had been arranged for inmates at the high-security hospital.

Convicted killers and rapists were allowed to dress up as ghosts and monsters, it was reported.

Murray said: "I'm not sure I accept that the public interest was engaged.

"I support the intention [behind the story] but I would say some aspects of it were insensitive."

Kovalevsky asked Murray what his view on whistle-blowing as regards serious crime inside the hospital.

He cited the example of Jimmy Savile, and the numerous allegations surrounding Savile and sexual assaults at Broadmoor in the 1980s and 1990s.

Murray explained the structure behind reporting serious crime between staff at Broadmoor, adding that first and foremost they should approach their line manager.

He added that Broadmoor has a new policy on whistle-blowing, which compels staff to report allegations of serious crime

Kovalevsky asked: "If a member of staff went to the press [in relation to serious crime], would you deprecate them?"

Murray answered: "I would prefer they went through the official channels, but I would accept that the public interest does include the reporting of serious crime that this would constitute.

"If something is going wrong I want to put it right. Why would I not have that intention?

"If somebody commits a serious offence in Broadmoor then I want the appropriate action taken.

"I am ashamed of the fact that Jimmy Savile was able to behave for decades in the way that he did.

"If the only way to resolve that situation was for someone to go to the press I could not in any way condemn that."

Murray complained four times about The Sun's reporting on Broadmoor residents.

In all the hospital trust has issued 34 complaints against past press reporting – including the long lens photo taken of Robert Napper.

Murray later said that in the past there had been a "culture" at Broadmoor allowing boundary violations within the hospital which discouraged reporting, leading to allegations of sexual assault – most notably against Savile.

Martin Hicks QC, for former Sun deputy news editor Ben O'Driscoll, described it as a culture of "keep your eyes open but your mouth shut".

Murray described the culture at the hospital as "changing" for the better.

He added that he was unaware if a Halloween party was taking place this week at Broadmoor.

Pyatt is accused with Pharo, deputy news editor O'Driscoll, 38, managing editor Graham Dudman, 51, John Troup, 49, and picture editor John Edwards, 50, of paying for confidential information at The Sun between 2002 and 2011.

The six defendants are accused of a decade-long campaign of payments to police officers, prison guards, healthcare workers in Broadmoor Hospital, and serving soldiers.

Pharo, of Wapping, east London, denies six counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

O'Driscoll, Windsor, Berkshire, and Dudman, of Brentwood, Essex, both deny four counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Edwards, of Brentwood, Essex, and Pyatt, of Windsor, deny three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Troup, of Saffron Walden, Essex, denies two counts of misconduct in public office.

The trial continues.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × 2 =

CLOSE
CLOSE