Yard anti-terror chief 'rang paper to ask for a bribe'

Tuesday 08 January 2013 01:00
Comments

A senior Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer rang the News of the World (NOTW) to offer "highly sensitive" inside information about a police inquiry into phone hacking at the newspaper in exchange for a bribe, a court heard yesterday.

Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, who ran the Met's financial investigations into terrorists, made the offer in an early-morning phone call to the paper days after her employers had launched a new investigation into voicemail interception at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid, Southwark Crown Court was told.

The journalist who took the call, Tim Wood, subsequently relayed his version of the conversation in an email to two of the paper's most senior staff – news editor Ian Edmondson and crime editor Lucy Panton. He wrote: "A senior policewoman – no name given – wants to sell information on the phone-hacking inquiry."

Det Ch Insp Casburn, 53, from Essex, is on trial accused of committing misconduct in public office by engaging in behaviour that would lead to lower trust in the police "without reasonable excuse of justification".

She denies the charge, saying that while she did make the call she was acting as a whistle-blower who wanted to highlight the diverting of resources away from the fight against terrorism to less serious voicemail interception.

She denies that she asked for payment or disclosed any confidential information not already in newspaper reports. Her trial is expected to last three days.

At the opening yesterday, Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, outlined how Det Ch Insp Casburn had contacted a readers' hotline for the NOTW at 7.51am on Saturday 11 September 2010. At the time she was in day-to-day charge of the Met's National Terrorist Financial Information Unit, which had seconded an officer to Operation Varec, the new inquiry into phone hacking established in the wake of a New York Times article alleging widespread wrongdoing at the NOTW.

Mr Bryant-Heron said: "In short, she tried to undermine a highly sensitive and high-profile investigation at the point of its launch."

Giving evidence, Mr Wood, said he feared the phone call might have been a hoax because it was "unusual".

April Cashburn's trial is the first involving the alleged lawbreaking at the now-closed News of the World.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in