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A DETECTIVE has warned that social networking sites are increasingly hampering major police investigations.
Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry, from Norfolk Police, was speaking after Michael Tucker, 50, was jailed for 26 years for murdering his partner, Rebecca Thorpe, 28, and hiding her body in a freezer.
During the original investigation there was widespread speculation on Twitter about the circumstances of the killing. Rumours included untrue speculation that the victim had been decapitated.
Fry said the investigation had been a “complex one” which was complicated by the use of social media. He insisted officers were not Luddites and said he regularly used networking sites.
But he added: “I would just urge members of the public to exercise caution when talking about a major crime like this. It is the same as gossip down the pub except amplified by thousands of times. This kind of misinformation made it difficult to establish whether potential witnesses had read details somewhere or knew them as fact. It also led to rumours which increased the concerns of the... community.
“I have come across social media being used in this way in the past, but this is the first time it has had such serious implications for our investigations.
“I understand that it is human nature to discuss these things online. I would just ask that people think twice about what they actually know and what is speculation,” he said.
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