December 12, 2007
By crime correspondent Martin Brunt
A clash of dates means I miss the not-to-be-missed Crime Reporters Association Christmas party, which draws a smattering of top cops.
None of them stays too long for fear of indiscretions (we hope) or the urge to settle old scores (that would be interesting, too).
Of course, none of us invites our real police sources for fear of showing out, or having them ambushed by a rival.
This year's festive bash is memorable for a certain senior officer regaling anybody who would listen with a terrible joke.
Probably made it up himself and he told it about 150 times.
It goes something like this... Kieren Fallon is riding in the 3.10 at Doncaster. The horse's name? Lucky Git. What he doesn't know is that the nag has a twin called Police Blunder and the two are often mistaken for one another.
I nip into the Old Bailey to see what's happening in the murder trial of Levi Bellfield. Not much.
It's a day of dull evidence with a police witness being quizzed about fuzzy pictures of a van that may or may not be the defendant's.
Bellfield, a former nightclub bouncer and wheel-clamper, denies murdering two young women and attacking others.
The parents of victim Amelie Delagrange sit at the back of the court poring over the CCTV stills and whispering to one another in their native French, making sure that each understands every subtlety of the questioning.
They may have another two months to wait for a verdict...I wonder if they will go home for Christmas.
Today, the Madeleine McCann story develops into a slanging match between their spokesman and suspect Robert Murat's mother.
I understand that some of it is stirred up by reporters looking for an angle, but it's becoming more of a soap opera each day.
And I don't know anyone who understands what that detective agency is doing to justify £50,000 a month?