A former police community support officer (PCSO) has avoided jail after he admitted tipping off The Sun that supermodel Naomi Campbell (pictured, Reuters) was in custody over an allegation of assault.
Paul Randall, 49, found out the model was at a Westminster police station where he worked on 25 October 2006 and rang the tabloid newspaper which dispatched a photographer to the scene.
Although he was one of two sources for the story, his information helped The Sun get the scoop on the South London-born model, resulting in two stories being published, prosecutor Stuart Biggs said.
He was paid £150 for the one-off phone call to the tabloid newspaper, the court heard.
Randall, who had worked as a Westminster-based PCSO for five years, was sacked in 2007 after being convicted of an unrelated public order offence of "road rage", Biggs said.
In mitigation, his lawyer Stephen McCaffrey told the court that the married father-of-two had suffered from ill health but had accepted his guilt.
He said: "He is a man who is bitterly sorry, not because he got caught but sorry for what he has done."
He understood that the offence was "not a question of Naomi Campbell or anyone else" but about a public official failing in his work, the lawyer said.
Randall, of south-west London, was sentenced to five months' imprisonment suspended for two years plus 100 hours of unpaid work in the community after pleading guilty to one count of misconduct in a public office.
Sentencing him, Judge Richard Marks said: "In 2006, a well known model attended the police station at which you were based in respect of an allegation of assault.
"That is a matter that came to your attention by reason of your presence at the police station and you took the opportunity to telephone the Sun newspaper in order to tip them off about the incident.
"The fact you had the phone number of The Sun on your phone is not without insignificance because that is not normally the sort of information an ordinary PCSO would expect to have entered in their phone.
"Not surprisingly, The Sun newspaper were extremely interested in the story. They published two articles and published photographs and as far as they were concerned it was something of a scoop.
"The seriousness of what you did exists in the breach of trust involved because in effect you had two separate paymasters – your employers and the newspaper."
Although other similar cases have resulted in jail, the judge suspended Randall's sentence because if his guilty plea, and the fact it was a "one off" at the low end of the scale of offending.
The judge went on to order Randall pay £300 in costs and made a £150 confiscation order.
Randall said: "Thank you, sir," as he left the dock, red-faced and breathing deeply, close to tears.