COUNCIL lawyers tried to ban the press from reporting the name of a man accused of murdering a three-month-old baby.

Swindon Borough Council won a temporary High Court injunction on Monday afternoon, stopping the Swindon Advertiser from identifying Defence Academy worker Paul Rich, 52, as the man charged with killing north Swindon baby Patrick Bradley.

Had the council been given a full injunction, it would have prevented indefinitely the media being able to mention Rich in connection with the death of the child in March.

The council said it brought the injunction in an effort to protect the defendant’s family from the publicity surrounding the case.

However, the Advertiser was preparing to challenge the injunction at a hearing on Friday, arguing that justice should always be conducted openly and it was particularly in the public interest for readers to know the identity of a man accused of killing a child.

But on Tuesday night, council lawyers informed the paper that it had applied for the temporary injunction to be withdrawn.

The injunction was lifted at 5pm yesterday.

The borough last night defended its decision to apply for the gagging order

A spokesman told the Advertiser: “The council took reasonable and appropriate action in the circumstances and we are not prepared to comment further for reasons of confidentiality.”