29/11/2012 06:01 GMT

Leveson Report: Chris Jefferies Says David Cameron Must Adopt Statutory Regulation Of The Press

Chris Jefferies has described his "campaign of vilification" by the press as he spoke out in favour of the government adopting statutory regulation of the media.

Former teacher Jefferies, 67, was detained by police for three days in 2010 after being arrested for the murder of his tenant, Joanna Yeates, during which time he was subject to headlines about the 'nutty professor' and the 'strange Mr Jefferies.'

He later won a libel payout from eight newspapers over his portrayal.

Speaking on Thursday morning, ahead of the publication of Lord Justice Leveson's recommendation for the press, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he hopes a statutory body would be set up to regulate the press and replace the current press complaints commission.

chris hefferies

Chris Jefferies said he was subject to a 'campaign of vilification'

"A body which has the powers to investigate misdemeanours by the press and a body which has the powers to discipline those parts of the press which contravenes the codes that have been, I hope, statutory set up," he said.

Jefferies said he found press intrusion in his life "absolutely devastating" and could not go back to a "normal life" for three months.

"It was absolutely devastating at the time that it happened. I was held by the police in custody for three days and during those three days the most extraordinary campaign of vilification was made against me by certain sections of the press.

"The result of that was when I was released from custody I had, in effect, to go into hiding to ensure I couldn't be discovered by all the reporters who were extremely anxious to find out where I was. I wasn't able to go out - or I was able to go out only after dark.

"And it was three months, in effect, before I was able to return home and start living a normal life," he said.

"I think one of the points that I would like to make is that the present system is one in which the press complaints commission with its self regulatory system has not been respected by anybody I don't think."


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