The News of the World has responded to criticism from a judge who said that it entrapped the father of Chelsea and England footballer John Terry as he supplied a reporter with cocaine.
Edward Terry, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, was given a suspended prison term of six months and 100 hours of community service yesterday after earlier admitting supplying the class A drug to journalist Dan Sanderson, who was posing as a chauffeur.
Sentencing Terry, Judge Christopher Mitchell told Basildon Crown Court: “It is a very, very clear case of entrapment solely to create a newspaper story.”
The News International Sunday redtop reacted last night by issuing a strongly-worded statement criticising the “disgracefully lenient sentence” by saying it was “a green light to dealers”.
A spokesman for the News of the World said: “If your child was offered drugs such as these, wouldn’t you be aghast at such a let-off for the supplier?
”Judge Christopher Mitchell insists that our investigation was ‘entrapment solely to create a newspaper story’. Absolutely not so.
“We investigated Terry based on information received. And he was eager to do business.
”He knew where to source the drug, supplied it in 20 minutes, and advised on its quality and price.
“He used language such as ‘he don’t chop, chop, chop’ – street slang for those who dilute cocaine – and ‘I’ll be able to get you discount.’
“‘Is this the language of someone who was acting ‘out of character’ as the court was so ready to believe?
‘”Terry pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing not to an offence of possession, but to supplying a seriously addictive and dangerous class A drug. He must have been astonished to escape with just a suspended sentence and community service.”