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Reporter who helped snare rapist given award

A court reporter at a regional daily who helped put a rapist behind bars has been given an rare award by the city’s top judge and a High Sheriff.

HTFP reported last week how Nicky Harley, left, from the Hull Daily Mail tracked down crucial photographic evidence to ensure Kevin Moloney faced justice more than 25 years after raping an elderly woman.

The evidence she uncovered led to him pleading guilty to the attack and he was jailed yesterday for four years for the 1985 offence.

And Nicky has been given a High Sheriff’s Award by the Honorary Recorder of Hull and the East Riding, Judge Michael Mettyear, and High Sheriff Adrian Horsley, for her role in bringing Moloney to justice.

Judge Mettyear said: “It was as a direct result of the inquiring mind of Nicky Harley that it came to light that there was important evidence.

“For myself, I am quite sure that it was her conscientious fulfilling of the task of a journalist in investigating thoroughly and properly a case that led to fresh evidence and led to this man pleading guilty because no evidence was so compelling.

“He knew he had nowhere else to turn.”

Editor John Meehan added: “Nicky demonstrated great initiative and professionalism to help bring this rapist to justice.

“We are delighted her role in this case has been recognised at such a high level. It’s a tremendous accolade for her and the Mail.”

Moloney, 44, went on trial last year charged with raping 69-year-old Beatrice De Kanter in her home in Thwaite Street, Cottingham, in 1985 after ‘cold case’ detectives matched his DNA with that recovered at the scene.

But he claimed the victim had invited him in and consented to sex and the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Moloney had actually broken in through the back door but as Mrs De Kanter died in 2001, the prosecution was unable to put forward anyone who could disprove his version of events.

However, Nicky tracked down former detective superintendent Barry Lilley, who led the original investigation, and he revealed he had kept copies of crime scene photographs which showed a smashed back door.

This led to Moloney, of Elloughton Road, Brough, pleading guilty to the rape before he was due to go on trial for a second time.

Nicky will be presented with the High Sheriff’s Award at a ceremony in March.

She said: “The detectives have done a fantastic job bringing this man and many others to justice after such a long passage of time.

“Every journalist hopes to make a difference and I am pleased that I was able to play a small role in helping see a rapist brought to justice.”