Nuclear submariner jailed for eight years for trying to pass on naval secrets to men he believed were Russian spies

Edward Devenney was told he had betrayed his country and his colleagues

A nuclear submariner caught trying to pass on naval secrets to Russian spies has been jailed for eight years.

Communications engineer Edward Devenney was told he had betrayed his country and his colleagues by meeting two men he wrongly believed to be Russian spies to discuss nuclear submarine secrets.

Sentencing the 30-year-old at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Saunders said “He did supply details of movements and operations carried out and to be carried out by nuclear submarines.

He added: ”I am satisfied that in the wrong hands it was capable of affecting the operational effectiveness of nuclear submarines”.

Earlier Devenney told the Old Bailey he had grown disillusioned with the Royal Navy after his chances of promotion were dashed by defence cuts.

He claimed to have just been cleared on a rape charge at the time, and said he was drinking heavily and suffering bouts of depression.

Devenney said he asked for his promotion training course to be deferred for a year but his absences without leave and conduct had led to a warning that he would be sacked if it continued, the court heard.

But by January this year, when he met the men in London, Devenney was a “controlled and rational man”.

No damage had actually been done to national security because the Russians were in fact MI5 intelligence officers, but Devenney had not known that at the time.

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.“

The court heard that Devenney rang the Russian Embassy in November last year, after what he said was a 12-hour drinking binge.

He thought he had been treated badly by the Royal Navy because he was not promoted to chief petty officer.

Two days later, he managed to get into a locked safe on board HMS Vigilant and take three photographs of part of a secret code for encrypted information.

The judge said: ”The photographs could, with other information, have led to the breaking of the code.“

He added: ”The defendant made determined efforts to enter into an agreement to supply secret information to representatives of another country.

“The reason he later gave for his actions was that he wished to get his own back on the Royal Navy who he considered had treated him badly.”

But the judge added: “The objective evidence is that the Royal Navy treated him well.”

Lord Carlile, for Devenney, read out a statement from him which said: “I would like to apologise for the shame I brought on the Royal Navy.”

He said Devenney had been “something of a blue-eyed boy” until things began to go awry, claiming the rape allegation led to a general collapse in his behaviour.

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week