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Reporter sacked after naming sex abuse suspect on Twitter

A junior reporter on a weekly newspaper has been sacked after naming a man questioned by police investigating historic child sex abuse allegations last week as a well-known entertainer.

The journalist, who worked for the Archant-owned Great Yarmouth Mercury, posted the celebrity’s name on his personal Twitter account last Thursday.

It followed news that detectives investigating the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal had interviewed a man in his 80s from Berkshire under caution.

The man was interviewed for five hours by officers working on Operation Yewtree, which is investigating alleged sexual offences by Savile and others. Police refused to give any further details.

The reporter’s Tweet openly speculated that the person being interviewed was a named celebrity, saying he “would love this to be true.”

A second Tweet posted the same day recycled a joke about the same entertainer that was “doing the rounds.”

The Twitter account, which stated that views expressed there were the reporter’s own, has now been deleted and the reporter dismissed.

Following a request from Archant, HoldtheFrontPage has decided not to publish his name, as to do so may expose him to legal action by the celebrity concerned.

An Archant spokesman described the episode as “an internal disciplinary matter.” The company has declined to comment further.

At no point was the name of the entertainer in question published on any Archant Twitter account or in any Archant newspaper or website.

A Metropolitan Police statement issued last Thursday said: “A man in his 80s, from Berkshire, was interviewed under caution on suspicion of sexual offences after attending South London police premises by appointment at midday today.

“He was interviewed by officers working on Operation Yewtree under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘Others’.

“Officers executed a search warrant at an address in Berkshire on Saturday 24 November.

“We are not prepared to discuss further.”