Operation Elveden: Journalists and prison officer to be charged

New Scotland Yard sign The Met is investigating the alleged selling of information by public officials to journalists

Five people, including a prison officer and three journalists, are to be charged in a probe into the alleged selling of information to newspapers.

They include prison officer Scott Chapman, Mr Chapman's ex-partner Lynn Gaffney and journalists Lucy Panton, Thomas Savage and Chris Pharo.

It is the first time such charges have involved non-News International titles.

A further journalist, three public officials and two police officers will face no further action.

The charges arise from Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police's investigation into allegations involving the unlawful provision of information by public officials to journalists.

Mr Chapman, a prison officer at HMP Woodhill, is alleged to have sold information to the News of the World, the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the People, the Daily Star and the Star on Sunday.

It is alleged that Mr Chapman sold details about a high-profile prisoner.

'Vindicated'

It is alleged that the payments were received via a conduit, Ms Gaffney.

Mr Chapman and Ms Gaffney are alleged to have received:

  • Thirteen payments totalling £9,300 from News International for 11 articles published in the News of the World and the Sun newspapers
  • Thirteen payments totalling £12,800 from Express Newspapers for 23 articles published in the the Daily Star and the Star on Sunday
  • £13,050 in payments from Trinity Mirror for 14 articles published in the the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People

Mr Chapman and Ms Gaffney are to be charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Former News of the World crime editor Lucy Panton and Daily Star on Sunday deputy news editor Thomas Savage will be charged with one count each of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

It is alleged that Chris Pharo - news editor and later head of news at the Sun - gave authorisation for payments to public officials employed at Broadmoor secure hospital and at Thames Valley, Surrey and Metropolitan police forces, as well as officers in the British army and prison officials.

He will be charged with one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

All five are due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 18 July.

Although not named by the CPS, the journalist who has been told he will face no further action is Sunday Mirror crime correspondent Justin Penrose.

Mr Penrose tweeted: "I always knew I would be vindicated but this year has been the most difficult and stressful of my career."

Two police officers who had been arrested over alleged inappropriate payments were also told they will face no further action, Scotland Yard announced.

The pair - both from the Met's Territorial Command team - remain suspended pending internal misconduct proceedings.

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