The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I met both those on rare social engagements, but on John Yates, I'd known -- I think it's probably worth putting it into context. I knew -- I first met John back in 1995, and that was a dreadful murder of a police mechanic by the name of Alan Holmes. At the time he was working in the north west London area murder command. He invited two or three reporters, I think there were three of us, who were aware of what had happened, I think it had happened over a Christmas period. We were invited up to Hendon and it was the first time I'd met him.

As it transpired, we were given a little briefing by Mr Yates. The two other reporters -- I was relatively new to crime reporting -- went away and wrote up the story, even though it had been strictly off the record and not for publication, so I lost out, as it were, but in a different sort of way the fact that I didn't break that trust probably stood me in good stead later with Mr Yates, and I think it's a mark -- I've heard lots of things said about Mr Yates during this Inquiry, but it's a mark of his true character, I would say, that when we did ever meet socially, Mr Yates always brought up the subject of Alan Holmes and his regrets about not finding the killers of Mr Holmes and the hope that he would eventually still find them.

I don't know if that particularly answers your question, Mr Jay. There would be with -- you mentioned those two ACs by name. I think I had social interaction perhaps once a year with both of them, and mainly -- again, if I may expand on this, there's been a lot of mention in this Inquiry about long lunches and reporters or journalists entertaining lavishly, bottles of champagne. My experience actually is that those lunching and buying dinners have become an increasing rarity over the last few years, and that was really perhaps as Fleet Street sobered up or perhaps as the police became more professional with alcohol taken during working hours.

The normal social setting would be in a pub, or possibly a wine bar, but more likely a pub, and it wouldn't be a case of the reporter handing over a credit card behind the bill and let's all go and drink as much as possible. It would be a case of the journalist buying a round of drinks and the police officer buying a round of drinks in those social settings. And I don't know whether they would be -- whether a note would be made of those. I don't know. I mean, I'm not -- that's one -- that would be one for those officers.

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