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Paper takes itself to PCC in storm over rapist

The Ipswich Evening Star has taken the unusual step of referring itself to the Press Complaints Commission.

The move follows what it claims have been threats by Essex Probation Service to take the paper to the PCC over its coverage of the case of rapist Kevin Chambers.

Chambers was jailed for life for the brutal double rape of a 19-year-old woman in a town centre subway, in view of closed-circuit television cameras. The attacks were committed within hours of his arrival in Ipswich following his release from Wormwood Scrubs, where he had served three years and three months of a six-year sentence for rape.

The paper claims that Essex Probation Service arranged for Chambers to stay in the town and paid for his rail ticket – without telling the Ipswich police or probation service.

Editor Nigel Pickover said in a front-page article this week that he had received a call from the probation service, demanding a meeting and twice threatening the paper with the PCC.

“Well, we have news for the Essex Probation Service,” he said. “We have not waited for it to act on its threat. We have taken the unprecedented step of ourselves referring our files on the Kevin Chambers case to the PCC.

“We have written to Lord Wakeham, chairman of the PCC, telling him we shall pursue our inquiries and that we do not like the threat of the Essex Probation Service.

“We back the Press Complaints Commission and stand by its rulings. If, in our detailed and extensive inquiries into this scandal, we make an error of fact, we shall carry a correction or apology. But we shall never, ever be stopped from making legitimate inquiries into this case or others.”

The paper published the text of its letter to Lord Wakeham on an inside page.

Mr Pickover added that the Evening Star had agreed to a meeting with the probabtion service to discuss the case – but not at the service’s base in Witham.

“The EPS, which requested the meeting in the first place, will have to come to Ipswich – where this sorry saga began and where a dogged Evening Star hunt for answers continues.”

Crime reporter Colin Adwent told HoldTheFrontPage: “We are campaigning in such a robust way because we feel that the public and, more importantly in this case, the victim have a right to know what went on.”

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