UK & World News
Submariner Jailed Over State Secrets Breach
A Royal Navy submariner who attempted to pass top secret information to Russian spies - who later were revealed to be British agents - has been jailed for eight years.
Edward Devenney, 30, was told he had betrayed his country and his colleagues.
Petty Officer Devenney, a mariner with over 11 years service, met two men he believed were named "Vladimir" and "Dimitri" in a London hotel and provided them with sensitive material regarding the movement of British nuclear submarines and operations they had conducted.
But the men were British agents and Devenney was soon arrested and charged with a breach of the Official Secrets Act and misconduct in a public office.
The court heard that Devenney, from Northern Ireland, had suffered bouts of depression and was drinking heavily following a trial for rape, for which he was acquitted.
His performance at work suffered, so much so that he withdrew himself from a training course and was told in January of this year that if he did not improve by April he would be discharged.
Mr Justice Saunders, sentencing him at the Old Bailey, said Devenney knew what he was doing when he met the two men in January.
He added: "He did supply details of movements and operations carried out and to be carried out by nuclear submarines.
"I am satisfied that in the wrong hands it was capable of affecting the operational effectiveness of nuclear submarines.
"This is a very serious case. The defendant was prepared to betray his country and his colleagues."
Devenney pleaded guilty to breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering classified information and misconduct by meeting the supposed spies.
Outside court, solicitor Richard Cannon read a statement on behalf of Devenney which said: "I am deeply sorry for the hurt and shame that I have brought on my family and loved ones.
"Prior to these events I gave the Royal Navy 11 and a half years of service and I deeply regret my actions and the effect they have had on the Submarine Service and colleagues."
Mari Reid, unit head for the CPS counter-terrorism division, said: "This was a classic story of betrayal.
"Edward Devenney was employed by the Royal Navy to protect this country from potential threats to our security. Instead, he pursued a course of conduct likely to put his country at risk.
"We rely on the men and women of our armed forces to keep us safe. It is hard to imagine a greater breach of that role than Devenney's actions."