Trial coverage under scrutiny

Two national newspapers and a radio station are facing possible prosecution over their coverage of the Soham murders.

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is considering action against The People and the Daily Mirror over articles that the papers carried which may have left them in contempt of court. He is also investigating a broadcast by Beacon FM, based in the West Midlands.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office said that Lord Goldsmith was expected to announce after Christmas whether he was going to bring proceedings against any of the three.

The media have also been criticised for offering rewards for information leading to the arrest of the killer of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The Sun offered £150,000 but Express Newspapers went further by putting up £1m, the largest amount ever offered by a newspaper. The rewards were not claimed, but Cambridgeshire police have said these financial lures hindered the inquiry by attracting bounty-hunters to the village.

The force has itself been criticised, however,for releasing to the media videos of Carr and Huntley's police interviews. Dominic Grieve, shadow attorney general, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday: "At the very end of the trial on Wednesday, Cambridgeshire police saw fit to release interviews of both Huntley and Carr to the BBC.

"The media are in a frenzy, but one also has to look at whether that frenzy has been fed by others."

It has also emerged that Kevin Wells, the father of Holly, has negotiated a deal estimated to be worth as much as £500,000 with the Mail on Sunday for the exclusive rights to his story.

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