Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Three jailed for selling stories

Former Pc Alan Tierney offered information to The Sun in exchange for cash

Two former police officers and a prison worker have been jailed for misconduct in public office.

Ex-Surrey Pc Alan Tierney and Richard Trunkfield, who worked at high security Woodhill prison near Milton Keynes, were both sentenced at the Old Bailey for selling information to the Sun newspaper.

Trunkfield, 31, passed on details about one of James Bulger's killers, Jon Venables, while Tierney, 40, sold details of the separate arrests of footballer John Terry's mother and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood.

They both admitted misconduct in public office earlier this month.

Trunkfield has since resigned from Woodhill prison and Venables is no longer being held there, the court heard.

He received 16 months, while Tierney was jailed for 10 months. A second former police officer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also jailed for two years for misconduct in public office.

Passing sentence on Trunkfield and Tierney in separate hearings, Mr Justice Fulford said: "This country has long prided itself on the integrity of its public officials and cynical acts of betrayal of that high standard have a profoundly corrosive effect."

Trunkfield had contact with a journalist at the Sun between 10 and 15 times and received £3,500 for information.

The judge told him: "It's for those in authority to decide on the extent to which, if at all, it's in the public interest to reveal the details concerning a particular defendant, balancing a wide range of factors. It is most assuredly not for individual prison officers to take it upon themselves to contact the press to reveal information about a defendant in circumstances such as those before the court today, still less to enrich themselves in the process."

In mitigation, the court heard that Trunkfield had no direct contact with Venables and passed on minor details such as what he was eating, including burger and chips. He was struggling with debt at the time he sold the information, the court heard, and had cared for his mother while she was suffering from cancer in 2008 and 2009.

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