Police officer 'sold royal family contact details'


News of the World 'paid royal police officer' for details

I have learned that News of the World e-mails uncovered by News International in 2007 contained evidence that the Sunday newspaper was paying a Royal Protection Officer for the contact details of senior members of the royal family, their friends and their relations.

According to a source, the e-mails include requests by a reporter for sums of about £1,000 to pay police officers in the royal protection branch for the information. The phone details could have been used to hack phones of the royal family.

"There was clear evidence from the e-mails that the security of the royal family was being put at risk," the source said. "I was profoundly shocked when I saw them."

The source added that the e-mails were unambiguous signs of criminal activity at the News of the World.

"It is quite astonishing that these emails were not handed to the police for investigation when they were first found in 2007", he said.

The e-mails were not passed to the Metropolitan police until 20 June this year, when they were re-obtained - from the offices of the solicitors Harbottle and Lewis - by a recently appointed new team of News International executives.

James Murdoch, News International's chairman, has said he was not in the picture about the full extent of wrongdoing at the News of the World until recently.

You can read more about these e-mails in my blog of yesterday. And I will publish some additional details in a bit.

Update, 13:55: I can now disclose more detail about the extraordinary e-mails that appear to show royal protection officers were selling confidential information to the News of the World.

In one of the dynamite e-mails, Clive Goodman - the paper's disgraced former royal editor - was requesting cash from the newspaper's editor, Andy Coulson, to buy a confidential directory of the Royal Family's landline telephone numbers, and all the phone numbers - including mobiles - of the household staff.

The relevant e-mail implies that a police officer in royal protection had stolen the directory, which is known as the Green Book, and wanted £1000 for it.

The Green Book contains, for example, the home numbers of Princess Anne, Prince Edward and so on. It provides more complete contact details of officials working for all the Royal Family.

The directory is stamped "secure" on the cover. When members of the royal household receive a copy they have to sign for it. And it is supposed to be locked away when not in use.

The implication of the e-mails is that the News of the World had bought the Green Book on at least one previous occasion.

The e-mails also suggest that the News of the World had police contacts in a number of royal palaces, and had bought information from several of them.

Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    What other revelatons are yet to come?, News Corp is toxic per see. but who else is at it.? As for the Met well they have blown apart the notion that Chief Constables should retain their operational independance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    For the Murdoch clan to claim they didn't know what was going on shows them to be either a) incompetent to the point of criminality, b) liars, or c) both.

    Regardless of which category then fall into they are clearly not "fit and proper" to own BskyB. On that note they are not "fit and proper" to own any media in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    This is not "the worse to come" that Brookes mentions. The Windsor family have been targetted before, this is a new twist on an 'old' story. We shall have to wait and see see but I beleive it is something far more damaging to our democracy. Speculation on the exact specific may lead to comments being blocked but suffice to say Murdoch has had the ear of every PM, Labout and Tory, since Thatcher.

  • Comment number 155.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Add to that the timing of the change in "Terror alert" status and an attempt to control the political agenda by rattling on about "Big society" and this tells us two things.
    Firstly, Both the big Society idea and Terrorist threats are used as Political ruses - cards that can be played when Cameron wants to cover his back.
    Secondly, Cameron is firmly on the side of Murdoch.
    Time for Cameron to go


Comments 5 of 158



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