Most of the 59-plus UK journalists arrested by the Metropolitan Police have had their homes raided at 6am, normally on a Saturday morning.
For Kent-based Sunday Mirror crime reporter Justin Penrose the knock came at 5.45am on Wednesday 11 July 2012. Ten officers arrested Penrose in his pyjamas, took him away for questioning and held him in a cell for six hours. Police searched his home and took away his personal computers. Fortunately for him, his children were not at home.
Penrose was not questioned again and finally – after 12 months in limbo – he was cleared last week.
Daily Star Sunday deputy editor Tom Savage, who was arrested on the same day as Penrose, was charged last Tuesday, alongside former News of the World journalist Lucy Panton, with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.
The CPS said that payments totalling more than £30,000 were made by the Mirror titles, Express Newspapers and The Sun and News of the World to a prison officer in exchange for information about a high-profile prisoner.
The CPS also announced that Sun head of news Chris Pharo will face trial over allegedly authorising payments to prison and police force employees and army officers.
So far 19 journalists accused of involvement in phone-hacking and illegal payments to public officials have been charged.
Penrose became the 11th to be cleared after first being arrested and spending a period on bail.
During his time on bail he continued to work for the Sunday Mirror, but was hindered by the fact that his bail conditions prevented him from speaking to police officers.
Like other cleared journalists, he is understood to be perplexed as to why his initial arrest was so heavy-handed, and why he had to suffer the ordeal of being on bail for so long.
He has never been in trouble with the police and Press Gazette understands that he would have gladly agreed to be questioned by appointment at a police station.
He said last week on Twitter: “After a year of being on bail I have finally been told the police are taking no further action against me.
“I always knew I would be vindicated but this year has been the most difficult and stressful of my career.
“I would like to thank my girlfriend Jess, family, friends and colleagues for their support over the past 12 months.
“And my thoughts go out to my friends and colleagues on other newspapers who are still going through the ordeal.
“There wasn’t any evidence. Considering I am innocent I could have told them that a year ago.”
The CPS also said this week that no further action would be taken against another unnamed journalist who had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.