Detective jailed for data sale bid

Thurrock Gazette: April Casburn leaves Southwark Crown Court after being found guilty of trying to sell information to the News of the World April Casburn leaves Southwark Crown Court after being found guilty of trying to sell information to the News of the World

A senior counter-terrorism detective who is the first person to be convicted under the fresh investigations into corruption and phone hacking has been jailed for 15 months.

Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was sentenced at the Old Bailey for misconduct in public office for offering to sell information to the News of the World (NotW).

Mr Justice Fulford told her it was "a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information".

Casburn, 53, is currently in the process of adopting a child and the judge said had that not been the case, he would have sentenced her to three years.

He said her offence could not be described as whistle-blowing, and went on: "If the News of the World had accepted her offer, it's clear, in my view, that Ms Casburn would have taken the money and, as a result, she posed a significant threat to the integrity of this important police investigation."

The judge went on: "Activity of this kind is deeply damaging to the administration of criminal justice in this country. It corrodes the public's faith in the police force, it can lead to the acquittal or the failure by the authorities to prosecute individuals who have committed offences whether they are serious or otherwise."

Casburn, from Hatfield Peverel in Essex, called the NotW news desk on September 11 2010, and spoke to journalist Tim Wood about the fresh investigation into phone hacking. She claimed she was concerned about counter-terror resources being wasted on the phone-hacking inquiry.

The detective denied asking for money, but Mr Wood had made a note that she "wanted to sell inside information". Mr Justice Fulford said: "It seems to me Mr Wood was a reliable, honest and disinterested witness."

A Scotland Yard statement said: "We hope that the 15-month prison sentence handed down to this officer sends a strong message that the leaking of confidential information for personal gain is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. There is no place for corrupt officers or staff in the MPS.

"DCI April Casburn proactively approached the News of the World, the very newspaper being investigated, to make money. She betrayed the service and let down her colleagues - the hard-working honest police officers who make up the vast majority of the MPS.

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