Saturday, 23 January 2010

Sally Murrer novel about reporter and police

Sally Murrer, the Milton Keynes Citizen journalist who was prosecuted after being accused of encouraging a police officer to leak information, is to have a novel published about a local newspaper reporter and a detective.
Murrer spent 19-months with the threat of a jail sentence hanging over her but charges against her of “aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office” were thrown out at Kingston Crown Court in November 2008. She, and her co-defendant, a police officer, were cleared after a judge ruled that Thames Valley Police had no right to bug their conversation.
Sally describes her book 'According to Bella' as "a light crime novel with a romantic twist" and not based on her prosecution, although it draws on her 33 years as a journalist and contacts with police.
The manuscript was seized on her laptop by the police when she was arrested.  Sally says: "Because the main characters were a local newspaper journalist and a detective sergeant, bearing a striking similarity to my co-defendant Mark Kearney,  they assumed it was evidence. Thus we assume Thames Valley police had to plough through all 94,000 words of it. Perhaps I ought to ask them to do a review.
"In fact, the book was utter fiction and ironically the whole theme revolves around the police sergeant refusing to tell the poor journalist anything at all. Because the police also seized my work computer on which I had backed up the manuscript, I was left with no electronic copy. It was held in 'custody' for 19 months until the court case collapsed."
Sally is still still working part-time for the Citizen.
'According to Bella' is published on March 25 by Brighton-based Book Guild Publishing, price £6.99.

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