Met Police detective guilty of attempted News of the World leak

15:10 10 January 2013

April Casburn was convicted by jurors. See PA story. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA

April Casburn was convicted by jurors. See PA story. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA

A senior Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism detective has been convicted of trying to sell information to the News of the World.

DCI April Casburn called the now-closed tabloid and offered details of the phone-hacking investigation in return for money.

The 53-year-old was found guilty of one count of misconduct in public office by jurors at Southwark Crown Court today.

The court heard she telephoned the Sunday newspaper early on September 11 2010 and spoke to journalist Tim Wood, complaining about pressure from Lord Prescott over the probe and giving the names of two former NotW journalists under investigation - Andy Coulson and Sean Hoare.

Prosecutors said she tried to undermine the hacking investigation by offering to leak details to a tabloid newspaper .

Mark Bryant-Heron told the jury: “She sought to undermine a highly sensitive and high profile investigation at the point of its launch.

“It was a gross breach of the trust that the public places in a police officer not to disclose information on a current investigation in an unauthorised way, or to offer to do so in the future for payment.”

He said that her conduct was “disgraceful” and the phone call was “malicious”.

Casburn admitted contacting the newspaper, but denied asking for money or offering any information that was not already in the public domain.

She was not working on the probe, called Operation Varec, but colleagues in the counter-terrorism command were running the investigation.

The detective, who joined the force in 1993, claimed she feared colleagues saw the phone hacking probe as “a bit of fun”, getting to travel and meet celebrities, and worried about counter-terrorism resources being wasted.

But Mr Bryant-Heron said that she had not mentioned these concerns in the call, according to an email written by Mr Wood 15 minutes later.

The court heard that she is currently in the process of adopting a three-year-old child.

Casburn, from Hatfield Peveral, Essex, will be sentenced later this month on a date to be fixed and was released on unconditional bail until then.

Mr Justice Fulford said: “A real possibility is an immediate custodial sentence, but I’m obviously going to have to consider very carefully the issues that we’ve ventilated this afternoon and any other mitigation.”

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