Police officer and a prison officer plead guilty to selling stories to The Sun


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The Independent Online

A former policeman and a prison officer have admitted that they had been corrupted by Britain’s best-selling newspaper, The Sun.

At the Old Bailey in central London, Alan Tierney and Richard Trunkfield pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office for selling stories to the red top. Tierney, then a constable with Surrey Police, sold The Sun information about the arrests of the footballer John Terry’s mother and the Rolling Stone guitarist Ronnie Wood in 2009 in return for £1,750.

In 2010, Trunkfield, 31, a prison officer at high-security Woodhill Prison, sold the paper information about an unidentified high-profile prisoner in return for £3,350.

Both were arrested as part of Operation Elveden, established in June 2011 to look into allegations that journalists at Murdoch’s News International in Wapping, east London, paid police officers.

Trunkfield, from Moulton, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to one charge of misconduct in a public office between 2 March and 30 April 2010. Tierney, 40, admitted one count of misconduct in a public office between 26 March and 3 April 2009, and a second count of the offence between 2 and 7 December 2009.

He sold details about Sue Terry and Sue Poole, John Terry’s mother and mother-in-law, being arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in Surrey, for which both received cautions, meaning they would not have appeared in court.

He also sold details about the arrest of the guitarist Wood, 65, on suspicion of beating up his Russian lover Ekaterina Ivanova. Wood also received a caution.

Tierney, from Hayling Island, Hampshire, was released on bail to be sentenced on 27 March. Mr Justice Fulford warned him that “all options remain open”.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, a former police officer pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office.

In another matter, a public official admitted misconduct in public office.

In other cases before the Central Criminal Court, Andy Coulson, the ex-NOTW editor and David Cameron’s former director of communications, appeared in court to face charges over an alleged conspiracy to bribe public officials for information.

Mr Coulson, 45, is accused with Clive Goodman, the NOTW’s former royal correspondent, of requesting and authorising payments to public officials in exchange for information about the Royal Family.

Mr Coulson, from Kent, and Mr Goodman, 55, from Surrey, face two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office – one between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003, and the other between 31 January and 3 June 2005.

Their case was adjourned until next month.

Rebekah Brooks, 44, from Churchill, Oxfordshire – News International’s former chief executive – also appeared at the Old Bailey to face separate charges. The matter was adjourned until next month.

John Kay, chief reporter of The Sun, 69, from north-west London, entered a not guilty plea to the charge of conspiracy to commit  misconduct in public office.