The Sun's defence editor Virginia Wheeler and former Met PC Paul Flattley charged with misconduct in public office

Alison Levitt said the charges related to the payment of money for information about the death of a 14-year-old girl as well as other 'accidents, incidents and crimes'

The Sun’s defence editor Virginia Wheeler today became the fifth Sun journalist to face charges arising from the phone hacking scandal which closed its sister paper, the News of the World.

Prosecutors claimed the Sun had paid £6,450 to a Scotland Yard officer in return for sensitive information about police inquiries including one into the “tragic” death of a 14-year-old girl.

Details about “high-profile individuals” and “victims of accidents, incidents and crimes” were also supplied to the Sun by PC Paul Flattley in the three years to September 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Ms Wheeler and Mr Flattley, who has now left the force, were charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

The charges arise from Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard’s inquiry into corruption of public officials by journalists at News International, Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper group.

So far it has made 56 arrests and brought eight charges, including three others against current or former Sun staff.

In November, the former paper’s ex-editor Rebekah Brooks and chief reporter, John Kay, were charged over allegations that the Sun paid £100,000 to a senior defence official, Bettina Jordan Barber.

Andy Coulson, a former Sun reporter who became the Prime Minister’s spokesman, has been accused of approving a payment to a police officer for Royal phone numbers during his editorship of the News of the World.

Cheryl Carter, the Sun’s former beauty editor and Mrs Brooks’ former PA, has been charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Ms Wheeler, a long-serving member of the Sun’s staff who impressed editors with her reporting from war zones, was arrested last March.

The CPS received a file from the Metropolitan Police about her and Mr Flattley on 17 December.

In a statement, Alison Levitt, QC, CPS senior advisor, said the Sun was alleged to have paid Mr Flattley £4,000 in cheques and £2,450 cash between 25 May 2008 and 13 September 2011, “in exchange for information provided in breach of the terms of his employment.”

She went on: “The information provided included information about the tragic death of a 14-year-old girl, as well as details about both suspects and victims of accidents, incidents and crimes. This included, but was not limited to, information about high profile individuals and those associated with them.”

Ms Levitt, who is overseeing all prosecutions arising from phone hacking and related investigations, added that she had considered the case carefully according to the guidance on charging journalists issued by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer.

The guidance, she said, “asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.”

Ms Wheeler and Mr Flattley are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing on a date to be announced shortly.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes