TWO men who secretly recorded court proceedings involving the alleged killer in the notorious Lesley Molseed case have been jailed.
Patrick Cullinane, 57, of Harrow Wield, Middlesex, was caught red-handed at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday with a dictaphone in his pocket as Ronald Castree, 54, was having his latest application for bail heard.
Cullinane, who was caged for four months at a hearing on Friday, had previously met Castree in prison where the defendant had agreed for Cullinane to represent him – but Mr Justice McKinnon refused to accept Cullinane's protestations that he should be acting as defence barrister and ignored his outburst at the end of the hearing.
His friend Noel O’Gara, 62, of Athlone, Ireland, had also bizarrely taken a mobile phone photograph of police officers and members of the public outside the court room – which is strictly prohibited.
The farmer, who is the author of a controversial book about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, was jailed for 14 days. The pair had admitted contempt of court. A third man was released.
The hearing heard how the two men had visited prison to see Castree, who is due to stand trial for the murder of Lesley Molseed, an 11-year-old girl who was stabbed 12 times and sexually assaulted in October 1975.
Her body was found on the moors near Ripponden.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Stephen Gullick said: “These are serious contempt offences. People must come into this building confident they will not be photographed or have their conversations recorded.”
Addressing Cullinane he said: “The recording was wholly unauthorised. You knew perfectly well what you were doing was unlawful activity.”
Sentencing O’Gara he said: “There are warnings in place prohibiting photographs being taken in the court building.”
Det Supt Stephen Ridge, of West Yorkshire Police, told the court how he had been alerted by a solicitor who had accused the men of filming in court.
Det Supt Ridge said: “All three denied having possession of a telephone or similar equipment. I arrested all three and O'Gara then produced a mobile phone and told me had taken one photograph.
“The men were searched, and in the breast pocket of Cullinane's jacket was a dictaphone. The camera and dictaphone were examined, and a picture was found of police officers outside the court room.
“The dictaphone had a recording of the bail application, in particular the outburst at the end where Cullinane had sought the judge's attention.”
O’Gara is the author of controversial book The Real Yorkshire Ripper Story in which he claims that Sutcliffe was not responsible for the murder of all his victims.
On his website he said: “It was a well established fact that at the time of Peter Sutcliffe’s arrest, two killers were involved in the series of murders and assaults; the Ripper, who had been corresponding with the police, and a Copy-Cat killer.”
The murder of Lesley Molseed has gained notoriety after it emerged that the man convicted of her murder, Stefan Kiszko, was innocent.
He served 16 years in jail before he was finally released on appeal in 1992 but died of a heart attack a year later at the age of 44.
Now Castree, of Oldham, is awaiting trial for her murder next month.