The detective in charge of the Stephen Lawrence murder case has alleged that potentially damaging media stories about the investigation may have been leaked by a senior member of Scotland Yard.
Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll told the Levenson inquiry that a Daily Mail piece, published in November 2007, contained information about a forensic breakthrough in the Lawrence case that was known by only a small group of people.
The story appeared in the tabloid just hours after a private meeting with Lawrence's mother, and contained information relating to forensic evidence that ultimately led to the conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris earlier this year. He said that he was on the train home from the meeting when he received a call telling him that a story would be running in the Daily Mail the following day.
He told the inquiry:
It was actually before I got home. I received a phone call whilst I was on the train that there was an article that was going to beprinted the following day which followed the meeting that we had just had, or appeared to follow the meeting. The information within the Mail certainly was the information we gave to that meeting, with the exception of the terminology used.
Driscoll said that the release of secret information into the public domain endangered confidence in the investigation and also affected witnesses who might be needed to give evidence.
He added that a Fleet Street source had told him that the unnamed Scotland Yard official had been secretly briefing journalists outside of official channels. Driscoll added that he did not want to name the suspected leaker as information had been passed to the Met inquiry into bribery and to the official police watchdog.