Peter Rose: Tenacious crime reporter of the old school

One of Britain’s top policemen has led tributes to former Daily Mail chief crime correspondent, Peter Rose, who has died aged 53.

Rose, who was president of the Fleet Street Crime Reporters Association, was a prolific story-getter who enjoyed the respect and trust of colleagues and police officers alike.

His scoops during his time at the Mail from 1987 to 2000 included stories about the Fred West murders, the notorious Hanratty murder case in 1961, and Myra Hindley’s failed bid to be released from prison. It is said he knew about Jill Dando’s murder even before Scotland Yard chiefs had been informed and he also broke stories about the hunt for fugitive M25 killer, Kenny Noye, and the murders of Lin and Megan Russell in Kent.

He cut his teeth as a crime correspondent during the IRA’s mainland bombing campaign, when he worked with legendary Daily Mail chief crime reporter, Peter Burden.

Rosey, as he was known to friends, was a crime reporter very much from the ‘old school’. It was rare for him to be at his desk at lunch-time, which he reserved exclusively for meeting contacts.

At the Mail, he was a father figure to many younger reporters, one of his favourite phrases being: “Don’t ever think you’ve got this job sussed, it will come up and bite you on the bum when you least expect it.”

He was renowned for his whispering voice and penchant, in the style of a typical Special Branch officer, to look over his shoulder during a conversation. An accomplished story-teller with a sceptical sense of humour, his audience would often struggle to hear the punchline.

He landed shifts at the Mail when, working as a local newspaper reporter in Hertfordshire, he got an exclusive interview with the sister of Spycatcher, Peter Wright.

After leaving the Mail in December 2000, Rose had a short stint as crime editor of the News of the World before going freelance.

Although hampered by ill health in recent years, he continued to provide splashes and page leads to numerous nationals and was a popular president of the Crime Reporters Association, which fosters good professional relations between journalists and the police.

Tim Godwin, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Pete was an important figure in the world of crime reporting. A determined and tenacious reporter, he was also a real character. He fully understood the importance of good relationships between the police and media. I’m sure there are many members of the Met who knew and worked with Pete who will be saddened by this news.”

Stephen Wright, crime editor at the Daily Mail who was Rose’s deputy for five years, said: “Pete was the ‘copper’s crime reporter’. His success was based on his integrity, principles and trustworthiness. He played the long game on stories and never got carried away with his success.”

Wright added: “I would rate Pete as one of the most popular reporters I have come across in London. He was a thoroughly decent person and will be sorely missed by many former colleagues.”

Rose died in his home town Letchworth, Herts, on Tuesday (9 March). He leaves two daughters and a son.

His funeral will take place at the Vale Cemetery & Crematorium, The Vale, Butterfield Green Road, Luton, next Friday, March 19 at 9.45am.

His family say everyone is welcome to the service and also to a wake at the Conservative Club, Letchworth, afterwards.

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