Two years after guilty Elveden plea, Sun's Broadmoor source jailed for eight months

A former Broadmoor Hospital worker has been jailed for eight months for selling stories to The Sun about notorious patients including the Yorkshire Ripper.

Robert Neave, 62, had worked at the top security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire since 1980 and was aware of his duty of confidentiality.

But in September 2007, the healthcare nursing assistant contacted the tabloid and offered information about Peter Sutcliffe as well as Rachel Nickell's killer Robert Napper.

Over the next two and a quarter years, Neave, of Markfield Crescent, Liverpool, passed on 14 tips to the newspaper and was paid a total of £7,125.

In November 2013, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, and he appeared before the Old Bailey on Thursday to be sentenced.

Jailing him, Judge Richard Marks QC said: "On any view of the matter, not least given you at the time had not one but two paymasters, this represented a gross breach of trust.

"For reasons which were explained in the trial of a number of your co-accused journalists, I am satisfied that articles of the sort generated as a consequence of the information you provided are significantly detrimental to the patients' well-being.

"They caused mistrust and suspicion as well as potentially impacting on security. Your duty of confidentiality was something you were well aware of. Accordingly it is difficult to see there can be any excuse at all for what you did. It does appear you must have been motivated by money."

The Common Serjeant of London took into account Neave's guilty plea and the long delay in sentencing as well as the fact that Neave is the sole carer for his elderly father.

But he added: "I regret to say that in my judgment the scope and scale of your offending was such that an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable, however I have reduced it significantly."

Detective Superintendent Larry Smith, leading on Operation Elveden, said afterwards: "Neave was in a highly trusted position, working in an environment where the confidentiality of the patients is of vital importance.

"He was not a whistleblower but released private information, obtained in the course of his duties for financial gain. In doing so he committed misconduct in public office. His behaviour merits criminal sanction."

So far, more than 30 public officials have been convicted of misconduct in a public office after selling stories to newspapers.

(Picture: Shutterstock)

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