#paulclarke : the reporter in court speaks

This weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

This morning, a slightly bewildered-seeming Holly Thompson twittered this:

I'm the journalist who wrote the #paulclarke story. Wow. What a response.

Since the Surrey Times had the comments on the story switched off all weekend, she, and they, were probably unaware of the 'storm' until this morning.

Naturally, she's been deluged with questions, mostly from people seeking 'more facts', 'more facts'.

So far, the following has been revealed by Holly:

Ms Thompson was in court "For the full two days". She has "also spoken to Mr Clarke a lot during and after the trial"

 [Paul Clarke] didn't tell police he had a gun. He said: "I've got something to give you". He admits that was mistake but didn't know the law

"Mr Clarke didn't take the stand. His written statement was read out in court and not disputed by the prosecution."

When told that there were many 'disbelievers' out in Twitterland and in the blogosphere:

"I'm sorry to disappoint anyone but all the facts are there. We wouldn't have printed it unless we knew that for certain"

When told that there was little or no national press coverage:

"it was in the nationals. Was sourced exclusively to the Sun who had it as a page lead on Thursday"

When told that even that hadn't made it online:

".. its weird. Can only assume the nationals are just as dubious of my court copy as many other tweeters seem to be!"

CF has asked Holly to do a guest post here, and she has agreed. However, it wouldn't be astonishing if the Surrey Mirror (or someone else, eh conspiracy theorists?) prevented her from doing so.

Watch this space...



Dippyness. said...

Now I'm really confused. (Not that it takes much) Did he own the gun or find the gun?...Oh dear.. My brain is starting to hurt

Captain Haddock said...

The more I read of this saga, the more it stinks .. I can't decide where the stink originates .. but someone out there knows the "real truth" .. that's for sure ..

And at this moment no-one involved is coming out of it smelling of roses ..

measured said...

What an idiot! He didn't tell the police. It is very difficult for laws to cover idiots as they are their own worst enemies.

Shouldn't the police have asked him what he had and warned him in case it was a firearm or the like? Ignorance of the law is no defence for him, nor is it a defence for the police. But, yes, let's face it; he wasn't allowed to have a defence. Btw there are other strict liability offences around.

Still, Mr Clarke will probably be let off as these will be deemed 'exceptional circumstances'. Bet he is more careful the next time he finds a gun. He must be FURIOUS about all this, CF (...and slightly worried).

Jill said...

I agree with Captain. It smells of hidden agendas to me, but whether it's one person's hidden agenda or multiple hidden agendas, I've no idea.

However, I also agree with CF. Since the prosecution didn't dispute Mr Clarke's testimony, a 5-year prison sentence seems absolutely ludicrous.

subrosa said...

I read a blog over the weekend in which a Paul Clarke of the same town had upset some DVLA officials who were poking around his car. The blogger wasn't saying it WAS the same Paul Clarke but what a co-incidence.

Sorry CF, I've looked for it again and can't find it. I'm sure your search skills are far better than mine.

The Filthy Engineer said...

I notice the Police are keeping very quiet about this. I would really like to here a statement from the Superintendant that paul Clarke spoke to on the phone.

I've posted a link to you from my blog. The story needs to come out in the open, although I hear that the story was aired in the Sun on Thursday

Pavlov's Cat said...


the two stories are here, Same name smae address, just a bit older in the 2nd. Pictures look similar too

Man accused of attacking DVLA inspector with broom walks free

Ex-soldier faces jail for handing in gun

Constantly Furious said...

@subrosa : here's the other story, which may well have left the police less well-inclined toward him.

Constantly Furious said...

Subrosa says comments here aren't working for her. Is that the case for everyone? (if this appears, clearly not for me!).

Can you tweet @constantfury if comments not working for you?

Anonymous said...

@The Filthy Engineer

The Chief Super has other things on his mind, it would seem.

Old Holborn said...


bob said...

If the facts are as described, then he didn't "possess" the gun in the legal sense. His lawyer should have been able to point this out.