Chris Jefferies yet to receive apology from editors who 'vilified' him in the press - Press Gazette

Chris Jefferies yet to receive apology from editors who 'vilified' him in the press

Christopher Jefferies, the landlord who was wrongly arrested for the murder of his tenant Joanna Yeates, has revealed that he has yet to receive a written apology from any of the editors and reporters responsible for his "vilification" in the press.

The 67-year-old retired teacher won substantial libel damages from eight newspapers following their coverage of his arrest in connection with the architect's disappearance in 2010.

He was released without charge while another tenant, Vincent Tabak, was later sentenced to life for murder.

Jefferies has now called for an independent press regulator, backed up by law, ahead of the long-awaited Leveson Inquiry report due out on Thursday.

Speaking to The Observer, he said: "I have not had a letter of apology from any of the editors, any of the journalists. The editor of the Scotsman described it as a mistake. He didn't elaborate."

The Lord Chief Justice described reports on Jefferies by some newspapers following Miss Yeates' disappearance as "vilification".

After giving evidence to the inquiry into press standards, Jefferies voiced surprise at claims by a former Daily Star journalist after he quit the paper in protest at what he said was its anti-Muslim propaganda.

Richard Peppiatt told the inquiry that newspaper shaped stories to fit its "ideological perspective" and that quotes and details of articles were regularly made up.

Jefferies told The Observer: "I have not had much time for that end of the journalistic market place but I was rather shocked, despite what happened to me.

"I think it was because of the sort of thing he was saying about the racism of the stories he was putting out, simply to pander to an extreme end of public opinion.

"The papers had some grounds for thinking there was a possibility that I had committed murder, simply because I had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

"But to effect, in a rather calculated way, to whip up a campaign against a whole section of the population that is vulnerable, is truly shocking."

David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry in July last year in response to revelations that the News of the World commissioned a private detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The report into the inquiry's first part, looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press, will be published on Thursday, including recommendations for press regulation.