UK & World News

  • 27 March 2013, 15:33

Elveden: Officials Jailed For Selling Stories

A former police officer has been jailed for 10 months and a prison officer for 16 months for selling information to The Sun.

Ex-Surrey PC Alan Tierney was sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting two counts of misconduct earlier this month.

Prison officer Richard Trunkfieldwas sentenced at the same court for selling information on James Bulger killer Jon Venables.

He had also admitted misconduct in public office.

Tierney, from Hayling Island, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to two counts - one between March 26 and April 3, 2009, and a second between December 2 and 7, 2009.

He sold details about Sue Terry and Sue Poole, the mother and mother-in-law of Terry, both being arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in Surrey.

He also sold details about the arrest of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, 65, on suspicion of beating up his Russian lover Ekaterina Ivanova, who is in her 20s.

He received 1250 for the information which was paid by cheque to his brother-in-law.

Terry, Poole and Wood all accepted cautions over the matters.

In mitigation, the court heard that most of the details that Tierney had passed on would have eventually become public, and that their leak had not undermined any investigation.

The witness in the Terry case had also approached two other newspapers to try to sell his story.

Trunkfield has since resigned from Woodhill prison and Venables is no longer being held there, the court heard.

New father Trunkfield had contact with a journalist at The Sun between 10 and 15 times and received 3,500 for information.

Mr Justice Fulford told him: "It's for those in authority to decide on the extent to which, if at all, it's in the public interest to reveal the details concerning a particular defendant, balancing a wide range of factors.

"It is most assuredly not for individual prison officers to take it upon themselves to contact the press to reveal information about a defendant in circumstances such as those before the court today, still less to enrich themselves in the process."

In mitigation, the court heard that Trunkfield had no direct contact with Venables and passed on minor details such as what he was eating, including burger and chips.

After he saw the stories that were being published, he assigned his journalist contact a different ringtone so he could ignore the calls, the court heard.

It was also claimed that information was being leaked by another, unidentified source at the prison.

Tierney and Trunkfield were arrested as part of the Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police Service's probe into payments to officials.

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