Met Police detective jailed over attempted News of the World leak

11:26 01 February 2013

Chief Insp April Casburn, 53, was convicted last month: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Chief Insp April Casburn, 53, was convicted last month: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

A senior counter-terrorism detective has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for offering to sell information to the News of the World.

Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was sentenced at the Old Bailey today for misconduct in public office for offering to sell information to the News of the World.

Mr Justice Fulford told her it was “a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information”.

Casburn, 53, is currently in the process of adopting a child, and the judge said had that not been the case he would have sentenced her to three years.

He said her offence could not be described as whistle-blowing, and went on: “If the News of the World had accepted her offer, it’s clear, in my view, that Ms Casburn would have taken the money and, as a result, she posed a significant threat to the integrity of this important police investigation.”

“Activity of this kind is deeply damaging to the administration of criminal justice in this country.

“It corrodes the public’s faith in the police force, it can lead to the acquittal or the failure by the authorities to prosecute individuals who have committed offences whether they are serious or otherwise.

“We are entitled to expect the very highest standards of probity from our police officers, particularly those at a senior level.

“It is, in my judgment, a very serious matter indeed when men or women who have all the benefits, privileges and responsibilities of public office use their position for corrupt purposes.”

He said he was particularly concerned about Casburn’s child, and admitted that her absence while she is in prison could be damaging.

“Troubling case of corruption”

Casburn, from Hatfield Peverel in Essex, called the NotW news desk on September 11 2010, and spoke to journalist Tim Wood about the fresh investigation into phone hacking.

She claimed she contacted the tabloid because she was concerned about counter-terror resources being wasted on the phone-hacking inquiry, which her colleagues saw as “a bit of a jolly”.

The detective denied asking for money, but Mr Wood had made a note that she “wanted to sell inside information”.

Today Mr Justice Fulford said: “It seems to me Mr Wood was a reliable, honest and disinterested witness.

“He took time and trouble during the defendant’s call to find out exactly what Miss Casburn was saying, questioning the defendant in detail on her account in order to make an accurate note for his superiors at the News of the World which he wrote up in detail immediately afterwards.

“He had absolutely no reason to lie and every cause to be cautious given the risk that the newspaper was to be the victim of a sting, as he suspected.”

During her trial at Southwark Crown Court last month, Casburn likened the male-dominated counter-terrorism unit to the TV series Life On Mars.

She was not given a desk for several months, despite more junior colleagues having them, jurors were told.

But the judge rejected this as an explanation for her behaviour.

He said: “It seems to me this is a straightforward but troubling case of corruption.

“I decline to accept that she had significant difficulties working with her male colleagues in the senior ranks of the counter-terrorism unit, which in part she said led her to act as she did.

“The most that could be said is that she was a relative newcomer to this area of police work. As a result she may have felt something of an outsider.”

But he said this “could not begin to explain the actions of a detective chief inspector who offers to the very newspaper which is the subject of a sensitive and confidential investigation by other officers to sell details of the progress of the inquiry and the strategy that officers were intending to follow”.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Friday, April 17, 2015
Do you recognise this man? British Transport Police want to speak to him [Photo by British Transport Police]

Police are trying to identify a man they believe pretended to be asleep as he groped a woman on a late night train from Paddington to Oxford.

Friday, April 17, 2015
British Transport Police would like to speak to this man in connection with the assault on the west London tram [Photo from British Transport Police]

A 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on a London tram travelling between Belgrave Walk and Wimbledon.

Friday, April 17, 2015
The two teens were taken to hospital with stab wounds Pic: @BotanglesK

Young men chased by biker gang - one carrying a 2ft sword

Friday, April 17, 2015
Mohammed Faisal Riasat has been jailed after police found drugs in his underpants

A drug dealer who complained that police would make his mum cry after they discovered a haul of Class A drugs in his boxer shorts has been jailed.

Friday, April 17, 2015
A murder investigation is underway after a man was stabbed in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton

A murder investigation is underway after a fatal stabbing in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, last night.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Anyone with any information about the attack should contact the police [Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a man was badly injured in an attack on Teddington footbridge.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...