Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Inmate loses his bid to be anyonymous at inquest

A fresh inquest was ordered by the High Court in December last year after an application by the Birmingham Coroner to quash the original verdict (stock photo)
A fresh inquest was ordered by the High Court in December last year after an application by the Birmingham Coroner to quash the original verdict (stock photo)

By Matthew Cooper

A serving prisoner due to give evidence at an inquest into the death of an eight-year-old girl in 1975 has lost a legal bid for anonymity.

John Sir has been called to speak via video-link on Friday at a new inquest into the death of Helen Bailey, whose body was found in dense woodland a day after she vanished while playing near her Birmingham home.

Helen, known in media reports as 'Little Girl Blue' after she disappeared wearing blue clothing, was found dead in the Booth Farm area on August 11, 1975.

An inquest held in 1976 ended with an open verdict after jurors were told the youngster died from a "shallow" cut to the throat, which may have been the result of a practical joke gone wrong.

A fresh inquest was ordered by the High Court in December last year after an application by the Birmingham Coroner to quash the original verdict.

Rejecting Sir's application for an anonymity order on Thursday, the senior coroner for Birmingham, Louise Hunt, said she had not been presented with any evidence that the 72-year-old's life was at risk.

"I note that he is in prison, where safeguards can be put in place to protect vulnerable prisoners," the coroner said.

Sir, formerly known as Kenneth Etchells, was represented at the hearing by solicitor Spencer Stephens.

Mr Stephens told Birmingham Coroner's Court that Sir believed reporting of his name may put him in danger of harassment or violence.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph