Former News of World reporter denies MP’s claims he paid Cambs police relatives for Soham murders information
FORMER News of the World reporter Alex Marunchak accused by an MP of paying relatives of Cambridgeshire police officers for information about the Soham murders called the claims “completely untrue”.
MP Tom Watson made the allegations during a debate at Westminster Hall, London, on Wednesday which centred on Marunchak’s involvement in a number of high profile police inquiries.
The MP said he believed the Metropolitan 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.
“As far as we know, those allegations have not been investigated. I do not know whether the intelligence reports are accurate, but I do know that Alex Maranchek was involved in writing stories about how the Manchester United tops of those young girls were found.
“I also believe that at least one of the Soham parents appears in the evidence file of Glenn Mulcaire (a private investigator heavily implicated in the hacking inquiries).”
But Mr Marunchak said at the time his primary job was editing the Irish News of the World in Dublin “and I never worked on stories about the Soham murders, never wrote copy, nor interviewed anyone.
“For the avoidance of any doubt what Watson said is completely untrue.”
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He said in the unlikely event of an “experienced Fleet Street hack like myself” paying Cambs Police relatives he would hardly be “stupid enough to blurt it out in front of strangers, one of whom was a police informer. Er, no. I don’t think so.”
Mr Watson said the Met police failed to investigate both leads when reported in 2002 and 2006.
There was no independent verification of the claims, said Watson, but he referred to a News of the World story about murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman that had been written by Mr Marunchak.
Deputy Chief Constable John Feavyour 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.”