The News of the World and Siôn Jenkins
9th August 1998
Shortly after his conviction in 1998 Siôn Jenkins was the victim of a libellous story published by the News of the World
On 9 August 1998 Ian Edmondson wrote the News of the World’s front page story. Under a huge, sensational headline, it was a salacious and totally fictional ‘confession&squo; of guilt. Its timing was designed to reinforce a spectacularly weak conviction at a very sensitive time for Sussex police.
The newspaper alleged that Siôn Jenkins had made a ‘full confession’ to Andrew Veysi and other inmates in Belmarsh prison. The item mentioned confirmation by ‘a top Hastings policeman’ that statements had been made to Hastings police.
Andrew Veysi was well known in Belmarsh as an informer to prison staff. Due to be released shortly, he was ‘owed’ for his services. For no good reason he was suddenly moved into Siôn Jenkins’ cell for the last few days of his stay.
It was widely known among the inmates of Belmarsh that something connected with this high-profile case was being set up. During the brief time they shared the cell there was minimal contact between Veysi and Siôn Jenkins. Yet on his release Veysi sold his sick fiction to the News of the World.
Senior police officers involved in the Jenkins investigation gave credibility to the story by commenting on it publicly in a local newspaper, the Hastings and St Leonards Observer. As someone newly convicted of a serious crime Siôn Jenkins had no redress. It is well documented that in the period immediately after a conviction — especially when that conviction is dubious — the press can indulge in character assassination without risking legal action.
The News of the World had many qualities. Veracity was not among them.
However, the influence of the News of the World at that time meant that Edmondson’s story helped to reinforce the likelihood that Siôn Jenkins’ first appeal in 1999 would fail.
Responsibility for the ensuing years of costly litigation may be laid at the door of those too eager for a quick result, and those who colluded with them by distorting and misrepresenting the facts.
Past and present link in unexpected ways. Ian Edmondson has gone on to find himself the story, under very public scrutiny since 2011.
Ian Edmondson appeared before the Leveson enquiry on 9th February 2012. That date was also the sixth anniversary of Siôn Jenkins’ acquittal.
22 September 2002.
The News of The World used Newham Social Services department to link the case of Siôn Jenkins with the verdict in the Ainlee Walker case.
The link is false. This website continues to invite Newham Social Services department to confirm that its care of Billie-Jo Jenkins was correct and responsible.
Siôn and Lois Jenkins were properly vetted by Newham . The placement of Billie-Jo was monitored regularly. Approximately every six weeks a social worker travelled down to Hastings to review the situation and speak to Billie-Jo. The visits were an opportunity for concerns to be identified ; the records show that Billie-Jo was thriving.
The News of the World cites Lois Jenkins’ allegations of her husband’s violence. Yet Lois Jenkins never gave evidence in court. The source and substance of her allegations have never been verified.
After Siôn Jenkins was found guilty of murder her claims were among many sensational smears published . Post-trial innuendo is a recognised measure of the weakness of a verdict . It also ensures that any future appeal is undermined.
In a misleading feature, deliberately placed next to a major article about child abuse in the Catholic Church, the paper made false allegations about the Church of England and a theology course Siôn Jenkins is applying for. Innuendo serves as a substitute for fact.
The paper appeared to have just caught up with a story which was news in November of the previous year. It referred to Jenkins boasting on ‘his’ website: in reality, those serving life sentences do not have internet access.
There was no boasting. The campaign did nothing but report a number of verifiable facts which are, simply, the truth.