Kate Middleton among those targeted by jailed officer
- 5 June 2013
- From the section UK
A former Met Police officer, jailed after selling information to the Sun newspaper, targeted Kate Middleton and other public figures.
Paul Flattley was paid thousands of pounds for information on celebrities such as Paul Gascoigne and John Terry.
He also passed on details about the death of a 15-year-old girl.
Flattley was jailed for two years in March but it can only be reported now after a charge was dropped against the journalist accused of paying him.
The 30-year-old, from Stockport in Cheshire, leaked information while working as a police constable in west London. He passed on details between May 2008 and September 2011 about high-profile cases, as well as checking out tip-offs that the tabloid had received.
He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey in March after he admitted taking £7,600 for information leading to nearly 20 stories being published by the newspaper.
Details of Flattley's sentence can be made public after a charge was dropped against the Sun reporter Virginia Wheeler.
This followed medical reports which had been sought by both the prosecution and defence.
Ms Wheeler's lawyer, Mr James Wood QC, told the court she would have fought the charges had the case gone ahead.
Top of his class
On one occasion Flattley tried to corroborate a rumour that Prince William was about to propose to his then girlfriend Kate Middleton by calling and questioning his former sergeant who was working as a close protection officer for the Royal Family. The officer did not disclose any information.
In 2009 Flattley tipped of the Sun about the theft of a handbag from royal Zara Philips' car, which led to the headline, "Zara Bag Blag."
Flattley, who joined the police as a special constable in 2005 and graduated top of his class, alerted the paper to stories after 999 calls had been made to the police.
He sold details about ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne being sectioned under the Mental Health Act and which police station Arsenal footballer Jack Wilshere was taken to when he was arrested for assault.
Other stories concerned pop star Mika when his sister fell from a window in Kensington and the boyfriend of singer Lisa Maffia being stabbed at the O2 Arena.
Flattley passed on the information regarding Mika's sister just over an hour after the incident and received £750 for the story.
He also passed on details linked to the drugs death of teenager Isobel Jones-Reilly.
The 15-year-old died in 2011 after taking ecstasy at an unsupervised party at the west London home of university lecturer Brian Dodgeon.
When Flattley informed the newspaper about the incident, only 40 minutes after it had been reported, Ms Wheeler replied: "This could be as big as Leah Betts" - a reference to the Essex schoolgirl who died after taking the drug in 1995. Her death prompted a national debate about the drug.
In a statement to the court, Isobel's mother Lynne Jones said: "It's very hard to comprehend that anyone would see fit to provide details about our daughter to journalists for monetary gain."
Flattley was also asked to check out false rumours about then-England footballer John Terry and former MP Ann Widdecombe.
He was convicted for misconduct in a public office, as part of the Met's Operation Elveden - the investigation into corrupt payments made by journalists to public officials sparked by the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.
His two-year sentence is the most severe handed down so far.
Investigating officer Ch Supt Gordon Briggs, said: "Paul Flattley did not come on duty to serve the public, he came on duty to exploit them. He deliberately leaked information on 39 occasions."
Sentencing Flattley, Mr Justice Fulford told him his conduct as a police officer was "simply motivated by personal profit" and his actions would have a "corrosive effect on public trust and confidence".