Det Chief Supt Bill Ilsley, who is new to the case, will spend the next month looking at all the evidence to see if anything was overlooked. Sir Paul Condon, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said yesterday that Mr Ilsley will 'minutely examine all the evidence', and review the action taken in connection with the 500 suspects who were eliminated, as well as studying the 7,000 files and 1,300 witness statements.
A review based on bringing in someone new to the case is known as a Byford review, named after a former Chief of Constabulary, and it is the second time it has been employed in the Nickell case. The first was in November 1992 after which it was proposed to set up the undercover operation.
In the second strand of the review, begun immediately after the case against Colin Stagg collapsed last week, Assistant Commissioner Ian Johnston, in charge of crime policy in the Metropolitan Police, and officers under his personal supervision, are looking into the use of psychological profiling, police management of high-profile cases, undercover officers, and the interaction between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
The reviews come after a Mr Justice Ognall strongly criticised police methods in the Old Bailey trial of Mr Stagg. He described the use of an undercover policewoman to trap him into confessing to the murder on Wimbledon Common in July 1992 as 'a blatant attempt to incriminate the suspect by deceptive conduct of the grossest kind'.
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