Suspect suicide scoop for Advertiser

By Sarah Lagan

he Leatherhead Advertiser scooped the nationals on the story of stab
victim Abigail Witchalls’s suspect apparently committing suicide.

Mark Davison, community editor of the 12,451-circulation weekly
paper, received a tip off from a contact who lived on the same street
in Little Bookham as suspect Richard Cazaly, who died in hospital in
Scotland on 30 April after taking a large overdose of painkillers.

The paper had to sit quiet over the weekend hoping other news organisations would not catch wind of the story.

News of the suspect’s suicide came in at 5.30pm on Friday as Advertiser staff prepared to go home for the weekend.

Davison’s
contact had seen that police had been searching Cazaly’s house. He also
told the Advertiser, which has a Dorking edition, that he had seen him
on the day Witchalls was attacked, that he was acting strangely and
that he drove a blue Volvo.

Witchalls had said the man who had stabbed her was in a blue car.

Reporters
Vikki Thomas and John Williams followed up the story, interviewing
police who at first would not confirm that Cazaly was a suspect. The
paper insisted it knew the details were correct and just before the
paper’s deadline on Wednesday the police gave confirmation.

The
Advertiser’s news editor Beth McLoughlin said: “Police told us we were
the only paper with the story and we knew it was only a matter of time
before the nationals came.

“It was a nerve-wracking wait over the weekend but we managed to keep it under wraps.

“When
the nationals did follow our story they didn’t seem to have any fresh
information or sources. The chances for us were really small and we’re
really delighted.”

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