Twitter hampers inquiries, police warn

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The Independent Online

Social networking sites are increasingly hampering major police investigations, a detective has warned the public.

Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry of Norfolk Police was speaking after Michael Tucker, 50, was jailed for 26 years for murdering his partner, Rebecca Thorpe, 28, and hiding her body in a freezer.

During the investigation false rumours spread on Twitter that Ms Thorpe had been decapitated.

Mr Fry insisted officers were not "Luddites" and said he used such sites himself, but urged the public to exercise caution when talking about a major crime. "It is the same as gossip down the pub except amplified by thousands of times," he said.

"This kind of misinformation made it difficult to establish whether potential witnesses had read details somewhere or knew them as fact.

"I have come across social media being used in this way in the past, but this is the first time it has had such serious implications for our investigations," he said.