Sun six trial told of allegation Sun reporter paid Thames Valley contact for name of cadet killed in glider crash

The mother of a teenager killed in a gliding accident questioned how The Sun almost instantly discovered her grief-stricken family's address, a court heard.

Nicholas Rice, 15, died on 14 June 2009 after a collision involving two glider aircraft in Drayton, Reading, Kingston Crown Court was told today.

Nicholas' family, who had not released any personal details, were left shocked when a Sun journalist approached them at their home just one day later.

On 16 June, The Sun published an article, “Tribute to Glider Lad Nick, 15”, written by Jamie Pyatt, a senior reporter on the newspaper.

Today, jurors were read a statement from Nicholas' mother, Julia.

It read: “The article appeared in The Sun on the 16 June, I recall the first interaction we had with the media was on the 15th.

“I recall just before 9am my then husband answered the door to a male reporter with curly hair from The Sun newspaper.

“My then husband turned him away. He was asking whether we would like to give a statement.

“At the time we were numb, having only just learned of the death of our son.

“We have dwelt on how the media knew our son Nick's name – it had not been released at that point.

“Our question was: how had they found out where we lived so soon?

“If it was a member of Thames Valley Police, we would have been very disappointed… I was brought up to respect the police.”

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court that on 17 June, Pyatt, 51, emailed his co-defendant, then head of news, Chris Pharo.

The email to his 45-year-old boss read: “It only made long single but can I sort £150 for Thames Valley contact who pulled the name, address and dob for the RAF pilot and CCF cadet killed in the collision with a glider please.”

The court heard how on 29 August 2009 The Sun ran the article, “Broadmoor Nurse in Romps with Patient”, an exclusive by Pyatt.

The reporter emailed Pharo on 9 September, saying he “had a v good yarn in Broadmoor Nurse ‘Sex with Patient’ which was EXCL Pg Ld…

“It was split between Broadmoor contact and a Thames Valley police contact who got the three names and addresses of suspended nurses and the ID of the patient.

“Need to do £750 between them.

“Also as it was so high profile I bought off two other Broadmoor staff who came to us, which I will put through books as they look like being excellent future contacts in the ISIS [Broadmoor intensive care ward] area where I have no contact.”

Pyatt also requested £750 for another exclusive, “Cannibal Pops Out for an Op”, written in September 2009, jurors were told.

The article concerned “cannibal killer” Peter Bryan, who committed three murders between 1993 and 2004.

Pyatt's expenses email on 14 December of that year read: “Meet Broadmoor contact to pay for exclusive on cannibal killer Peter Bryan… £27.50 for dinner.”

Payment was also requested by Pyatt for a story published in February 2010, “Broadmoor Beast in Flings with 2 Nurses”.

On 2 February, Pyatt emailed Pharo: “Met new contact last night and although they won't say their position, it is clearly v high up the food chain…

“Can I put £500 through as well for Exclusive Pg Ld on the nurses shagging story on Monday…

“Guy last night gave me two other v good Facebook Broadmoor stories which I can stack up for today – or put on back burner if u feel we have had too much on Broadmoor this week.”

On 4 November 2009 The Sun published another story, “Cop Death Shock”, into the death of WPC Vijay Singh, 37, found by her young son and daughter.

A Sun reporter, known only as Journalist A, sent a number of emails to Pharo, saying she planned to meet her “Chelsea copper contact” at Starbucks and St Katherine's Dock for lunch.

Journalist A requested a £400 cash payments, but promised to repay the money if a story was not secured, the court heard.

Jurors were also read a statement from the sister of murdered teenager Asha Muneer, who was stabbed 30 times by her ex-boyfriend in a frenzied attack in January 2010.

Muneer said that an article written by The Sun, on 21 January of that year, contained names of family members and other particulars had not been publically disclosed.

Muneer said the idea that somebody from Thames Valley Police had leaked the information to the newspaper made her feel “very bad”.

Craig Tull, the motorist who discovered Asha's body on a towpath next to the River Kennet, was contacted by a Sun reporter hours after he returned from being interviewed by police, it is said.

Jurors heard a statement from Tull which said he later questioned how the newspaper had obtained his name and address so swiftly.

In the statement Tull's partner said the reporter, described as 5'6, white and British, responded to them: “We have our contacts.”

Tull described feeling “uncomfortable” and had a “sense of mistrust” that somebody may have given his details to The Sun.

Oliver Glasgow, prosecuting, read out emails exchanged between Pyatt and former managing editor Graham Dudman, 51, as well as Dudman and the Press Complaints Commission.

Both suggested Pyatt was the reporter who approached Tull.

Pyatt is accused with head of news Pharo, deputy news editor O'Driscoll, 38, managing editor Dudman, John Troup, 49, and picture editor John Edwards, 50, of paying for confidential information at The Sun between 2002 and 2011.

The six defendants are accused of a decade-long campaign of payments to police officers, prison guards, healthcare workers in Broadmoor Hospital, and serving soldiers.

Pharo, 45, of Wapping, east London, denies six counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

O'Driscoll, 38, of Windsor, Berkshire, and Dudman, 51, of Brentwood, Essex, both deny four counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Edwards, of Brentwood, Essex, and Pyatt, of Windsor, deny three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Troup, of Saffron Walden, Essex, denies two counts of misconduct in public office.

The trial continues.

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