CPS drops police payment case against Sun defence editor Virginia Wheeler

The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped criminal charges against The Sun defence editor Virginia Wheeler on health grounds.

The 33-year-old had been charged under Operation Elveden and was due to stand trial for making illegal payments to the police.

Wheeler had been accused of paying police officer Paul Flattley for information between 25 May 2008 and 13 September 2011.

Flattley pleaded guilty in March to the charge of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service,  said: "In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which requires prosecutors to keep all cases under continual review, following receipt of further expert medical evidence relating to her health the CPS has concluded that it is no longer in the public interest to prosecute Virginia Wheeler.

“Proceedings against Ms Wheeler were commenced on 22 January 2013 by way of summons for an alleged offence of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

“The proceedings against Ms Wheeler have now been concluded.”

Wheeler's barrister, James Wood, told the court that she would have fought the charges.

A News International spokesperson said: "We are pleased the CPS has concluded its proceedings and NI Group Ltd will continue to provide her with ongoing support."

Following the conclusion of the case, details of Flattley’s sentencing can be revealed for the first time.

He was paid more than £8,000 over a three-year period to pass on confidential details of high-profile cases. These included information about security arrangements for Kate Middleton and details on the drug-related death of 15-year-old Isobel Jones-Reilly in 2010.

Other stories Flattley sold information about featured Paul Gascoigne, Zara Phillips and Arsenal footballer Jack Wilshere.

Sentencing Flattley for two years, Mr Justice Fulford told him his behaviour was "utterly reprehensible".

He said: "In my judgment this defendant was utterly indifferent as to whether his actions would harm particular police investigations and the course of justice and overall he did not care what effect his activities would have on the victims and others involved in the various cases about which he provided information."

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