Police shut out journalist

Your Leek Paper deputy editor Shaun Lintern has been banned from his local police station for the "foreseeable future" after revealing evidence that suggested more than one person could have been involved in a violent attack on a 94-year-old woman.

Ben Brough, 18, was convicted and jailed for grievous bodily harm at Stafford Crown Court following the assault on Ada Hopkinson in her home.

But Lintern's investigation revealed there were two pairs of unidentified footprints at the crime scene that police were unable to eliminate from their investigation and were not used as evidence in the trial.

Lintern ran a three page "exposé"

after the trial revealing the two different unidentified sets of footprints found in and around the lady's house that did not match those of Brough.

Staffordshire Police confirmed they were "completely satisfied" that only Brough was responsible and there were no grounds to suspect anyone else.

They also issued a statement to Your Leek Paper saying that it would be "inappropriate" for Lintern to appear at the police station.

It said: "As you are aware, Ben Brough was last month (May 2006)

convicted at Stafford Crown Court of wounding Mrs Ada Hopkinson with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm.

"The trial was the subject of extensive coverage by Shaun Lintern in your newspaper, in particular the edition of Wednesday 24 May 2006.

"Staffordshire Police are currently considering your publication of Mr Lintern's articles and, accordingly, feel it inappropriate — for the time being — for Mr Lintern to represent the newspaper at Leek police station's weekly media briefings.

"In the interim, the invitation to your newspaper to attend the briefings remains open, and we look forward to working with whichever alternative reporter you choose to send."

Your Leek Paper has a staff of three reporters and Lintern is crime reporter as well as deputy editor.

Lintern said the paper had not received any notification that his story was wrong or inaccurate in any way.

He said: "It is disappointing that the police have decided to discriminate against me personally for a story which was massively in the public interest. If it wasn't for my story then the community of Leek would never have known about these footprints. Staffordshire Police have decided to take their ball home and not play anymore."

Staffordshire Police would not elaborate on the statement it issued to the paper when contacted by Press Gazette.


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