Reporter's email said: 'Can I bung £250 to the policeman and £250 to the soldier?', Sun six trial told - Press Gazette

Reporter's email said: 'Can I bung £250 to the policeman and £250 to the soldier?', Sun six trial told

A senior Sun journalist asked his superiors to "bung" a police officer and a serving soldier hundreds of pounds in exchange for exclusives, a court heard today.

Reporter Jamie Pyatt, 51, is also accused of buying details from Surrey Police PC Simon Quinn for years, making him into an important source of confidential information. 

The journalist made a number of expense claims for a "Surrey police contact" who handed over photographs and scoops, the court heard. 

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC has said there was extensive phone contact between the reporter and Quinn.

The court heard of multiple Sun articles and allegedly related expenses claims and payment authorisations.

On 20 September 2007, Quinn was accessing the police computer system, the court heard.

A day later Pyatt ran a story, "Milly cops quiz white van man", and payment for £750 was authorised, with the reporter tagging this as "man nicked for Milly Dowler".

"You see executive authorisation at the bottom for that particular payment," Wright said.

Another of Pyatt's stories, headlined "Queen's Guard jailed for drunken grope", was read to jurors. 

Pyatt claimed on expenses for "lunch with tipster" and emailed then head of news Chris Pharo.

He wrote: "Got exclusive page lead in last week on Queens Guard…I know P.A. [Press Association] picked up the end of it but with so little detail it never made a line anywhere…would like to give my royal copper £500 if that's ok. Cheers, J."

The court also heard messages allegedly showing Pyatt request cash payments of hundreds of pounds to "Thames Valley police contact" and simply "police contact". 

The court was read another note from Pyatt after his story, "Soldier strangled prostitute lover". 

He said a tip had given him "a six-hour lead over our rivals", writing to Pharo: "Can I bung £250 to the policeman and £250 from the picture desk to the soldier?"

The email was copied in to picture editor John Edwards because the soldier had managed to produce a photo of the killer in his combat fatigues.

The court was also told Pyatt was in touch with a Broadmoor healthcare assistant, Robert Neave. 

Later DS Paul Burrell of Surrey Police told the court he investigated Quinn's access to police computer databases.

He agreed that Quinn has looked into numerous operations he had nothing to do with.

The cases included serial rapists, the arrest of Katie Price's ex Dane Bowers, "an allegation concerning Chris Tarrant" and the suicide of serial killer Daniel Gonzalez.

Wright asked: "Could you find any documented legitimate access relevant to Quinn for any of these incidents?" 

"I do not believe so, your honour," the officer replied.

During the hunt for Milly Dowler police had discovered the dead body of "a young female" in a stretch of the River Thames on 23 April.

Fearing it was the missing schoolgirl, officers investigating her disappearance were quickly advised.

There was quickly a "huge amount of media interest" in the discovery, Pyatt's barrister, Richard Kovalevsky QC said.

"The BBC certainly got wind of the fact that something is going on.

"We know that people, described as a crown, have already been spotted at the scene…

"Are the BBC actively inquiring into what is going on?"

"Yes, that is correct," Burrell said.

Pyatt, is accused with head of news Chris Pharo, 45, deputy news editor Ben O'Driscoll, 38, managing editor Graham Dudman, 51, John Troup, 49, and picture editor John Edwards, of corruption at The Sun between 2002 and 2011.

During his cross examination of Burrell, Kovalevsky argued that The Sun behaved responsibly when dealing with sources.
This afternoon the lawyer ran through a long series of police crime logs before the jury, without reading them into the record.

A large portion of the evidence revolved around the murder investigation of Samantha Renfrew. She was stabbed to death by her husband David Renfrew in her Surrey home in March 2006.

Kovalevsky also showed jurors that information passed from sources to Pyatt was not necessarily used.

The lawyer emphasised the active police role in distributing photos and press releases to journalists – "police will use the press to try and find somebody," he said. 

He said police had distributed a picture of David Renfrew to national newsdesks.
Kovalevsky said: "There is a difference between what [information] was passed and what responsibly ended up in the newspaper.

"We are examining what was 'on the record' and therefore available at the time, and what made it into the newspaper in print."

Other stories mentioned in passing included the arrest of Katie Price's ex Dane Bowers, for drink-driving, and former Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira being the victim of a burglary.

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

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

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

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

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

The trial continues.



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