Jury retires in trial of Sun reporter Nick Parker accused of 'handling' MP's stolen phone

A jury has retired to consider verdicts in the trial of a senior Sun reporter accused of breaking the law in the pursuit of stories.

Nick Parker (pictured, PA) is accused of accessing the stolen phone of Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh to trawl through her private texts, some of which referred to David and Ed Miliband's leadership battle.

He is also accused of aiding and abetting HMP Swaleside prison officer Lee Brockhouse and Surrey Police officer Alan Tierney to commit misconduct in a public office.

The court has heard that Brockhouse gave him information about issues at the Kent jail, including prisoners smuggling in drugs.

Tierney allegedly contacted him with a follow-up tip about footballer John Terry's mother and mother-in-law being cautioned for shoplifting and a story about Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood assaulting his girlfriend.

In his defence, The Sun chief foreign correspondent denied doing anything wrong, saying his job as a journalist was to "seek out the truth and focus very squarely on the public interest" and protect sources "at all costs".

Parker, 53, of Twickenham, south west London, denies three counts of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office, handling stolen goods, and securing unauthorised access to computer material in relation to the phone.

Michael Ankers, 30, of no fixed address, denies the theft of McDonagh's BlackBerry mobile phone and handling stolen goods.

Brockhouse, 44, of Sittingbourne, Kent, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of misconduct in public office.

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