Sun defence editor arrested

 

The defence editor of the Sun newspaper was arrested today on suspicion of paying public officials for information.

Virginia Wheeler, 32, appeared at a south London police station by appointment to answer questions related to evidence sent by News Corporation's management standards committee to Scotland Yard.

Sun publisher News International confirmed Ms Wheeler had been arrested in an email sent to its staff.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman later confirmed a 32-year-old woman had been bailed to a date in May.

Ms Wheeler had been abroad on extended leave in recent months, a source said.

Police are understood to have wanted to question her for several weeks.

She becomes the 23rd person to be arrested by officers working on Operation Elveden.

Ms Wheeler is The Sun's first female defence editor and reported from the front line in Libya last year.

The arrest was made under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office (contrary to common law) and conspiracy in relation to both offences.

Operation Elveden - which runs alongside the Met's Operation Weeting team - was launched as the phone-hacking scandal erupted last July with allegations about the now-defunct News of the World targeting Milly Dowler's mobile phone.

It has now widened to include suspected corruption involving public officials, as well as police officers.

A Met Police spokesman said: "Detectives from Operation Elveden have today arrested a 32-year-old woman by appointment on suspicion of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office (contrary to common law) and conspiracy in relation to both offences."

Ms Wheeler's arrest in connection with Operation Elveden follows those of 10 other former or current employees at The Sun.

District editor Jamie Pyatt, 48, was the first to be arrested in November, while senior employees Chris Pharo, 42, and Mike Sullivan along with executives Fergus Shanahan, 57, and Graham Dudman were detained in January.

The tabloid's deputy editor Geoff Webster, picture editor John Edwards, chief reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, and news editor John Sturgis were then arrested last month.

A serving member of the armed forces, a Ministry of Defence employee and a Surrey Police officer have also been detained in connection with the investigation.

All were later bailed pending further inquiries.

Their arrests led The Sun's associate editor Trevor Kavanagh to launch an attack on police, claiming his colleagues had been treated like "members of an organised crime gang".

Former News of the World crime editor Lucy Panton, who is married to a Scotland Yard detective, was also arrested as part of the investigation into the paying of police officers in December.

Others questioned as part of the inquiry include former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson, former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner, and the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman.

The latest arrest comes as former police chiefs were giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry today.

Peter Clarke, former head of the Met's counter-terror division, and John Yates, who was forced to resign as assistant commissioner over the phone-hacking scandal, were questioned while Andy Hayman, the officer in charge of the original hacking investigation in 2006, was also due to appear.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
A daily miscellany of general election facts, figures, trivia and traditions
voicesThere's still time for someone to do something to make us care
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
film
News
news
News
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
PEOPLE
Sport
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
sportAll the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
News
Tepper had a stunningly successful career as a songwriter
people
Arts and Entertainment
Len Blavatnik
music
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions