Reporter 'paid for Soham scoop'

Holly Wells and Jessica ChapmanHolly Wells and Jessica Chapman were killed in 2002

Police officers investigating the Soham murders in Cambridgeshire were paid for information, an MP claims.

Labour MP Tom Watson said he believed a police report suggested a reporter paid officers’ relatives for information after the deaths of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.

Mr Watson made the claim in a House of Commons debate on Wednesday.

Cambridgeshire Police said they were unaware of any such allegations.

Jessica and Holly, both 10, of Soham, Cambridgeshire, were murdered in 2002 by school caretaker Ian Huntley, who was jailed for life.

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As far as we know, those allegations have not been investigated”

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Tom Watson MP

Mr Watson, the MP for West Bromwich East, alleged former News of the World reporter Alex Marunchak was overheard saying he was paying police public relations for information about the Soham deaths in 2002.

“I believe the Met [Police] is sitting on an intelligence report from late 2002 that claims a police contact overheard Marunchak claim he was paying the relatives of police officers in Cambridgeshire for information about the Soham murders,” Mr Watson said.

“As far as we know, those allegations have not been investigated.”

Mr Watson, deputy chairman of the Labour Party, is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which investigating allegations of phone hacking, in 2011.

‘Provide all details’

“I do not know whether the intelligence reports are accurate, but I do know that Alex Marunchak was involved in writing stories about how the Manchester United tops of those young girls were found,” he said.

In the same Westminster Hall debate, Mr Watson also alleged at least one of the Soham girls’ parents was named in the evidence of private investigator Glen Mulcaire.

Det Ch Con John Feavyour, of Cambridgeshire Police, said: “I am not aware of any allegations that payments were made to Cambridgeshire Police for information regarding the investigation into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

“I will now write to MP Tom Watson to ask that he provides me with all of the details in his possession in order that I can carry out an inquiry accordingly.”

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