Home Office was told of Nilsen broadcast

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A SENIOR civil servant in the Home Office, and the governor of Albany prison were informed in advance by letter that Central Television intended to film for broadcast the interview between a clinical psychologist and the convicted serial killer Dennis Nilsen, writes Terry Kirby.

It is understood that notification was made after Central had begun filming research for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) on offender profiling, the subject of Murder in Mind.

In the High Court this morning, Central will contest the Home Office's application for the seven- minute Nilsen interview to be banned on the grounds that it is an infringement of copyright and against its standing policy of prohibiting published interviews with very serious offenders.

The hour-long film, including the Nilsen interview, may be shown to the court. A temporary injunction is in force banning screening of the interview.

The Home Office said its understanding was that the film was being made for police use only. However, it has been established that two cameras filmed the interview - one used by Central and a video camera used by the police.

Sources involved in the making of the film have suggested that the Home Office's position may result from a lack of communication between the department which sanctioned the interview and the prison department.

Whichever side loses today, an appeal is likely. Central can screen the film without the Nilsen interview or delay it until the legal process is complete.