Two months before the Freedom of Information Act comes into force, Suffolk Constabulary opened its files on an infamous murder and gave Ipswich’s Evening Star a front page exclusive on a 37-year-old unsolved murder case.
A speculative request by the paper for the release of files of the Tattingstone suitcase murder, under the terms of the new Act, helped crime correspondent Mark Bulstrode uncover previously unseen evidence against the prime suspects.
Bulstrode discovered the two doctors suspected of murdering and dismembering 17-year-old Bernard Oliver, were wanted for other homosexual crimes. Neither was ever brought to trial.
One, Martin Reddington, who had fled to South Africa and then Australia, died in 1993 aged 63.
The other, John Byles, committed suicide in 1975, after being arrested and charged for an indecent assault in London.
A consultant surgeon from an Ipswich Hospital had told investigating officers he believed only someone with medical knowledge could have dissected Oliver’s body in such a clinical way.
Evening Star news editor Martin Davey said: “What we uncovered is an illustration of what I believe could be a treasure trove of information from the past that can be published for the first time, allied to other hitherto unreleased information which affects our everyday lives.
“We will certainly be exercising our rights in the future when the FoI Act becomes law next year.”
By Jean Morgan