Policeman and journalist charged in payments probe

Scotland Yard sign
Image caption Former PC Paul Flattley was allegedly paid more than £6,000 by the Sun for information

A former Met Police officer has been charged in connection with alleged illegal payments for information and a Sun journalist will also be charged.

Paul Flattley, of Stockport, Cheshire, was charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. He will appear in court on 11 February.

Sun defence editor Virginia Wheeler faces the same charge, the Crown Prosecution Service says.

The officer was allegedly paid more than £6,000 for information.

This allegedly included information about the death of a 15-year-old girl.

Seven people have now been charged in connection with the payments probe.

The charges come as a result of Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard's inquiry into alleged payments made to police and public officials by journalists, launched in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

'Suspects and victims'

Alison Levitt QC, the principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that former Metropolitan Police Service police constable, Paul Flattley, and Virginia Wheeler, a journalist at The Sun newspaper, should be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office."

Her statement described how Mr Flattley was allegedly paid about £4,000 in the form of cheques and £2,450 in cash by the Sun newspaper between 25 May 2008 and 13 September 2011.

At the time he was a serving police constable with the Met, meaning he allegedly breached the terms of his employment.

Ms Levitt continued: "The information provided included information about the tragic death of a 15-year-old girl, as well as details about both suspects and victims of accidents, incidents and crimes.

"This included, but was not limited to, information about high-profile individuals and those associated with them."

Mr Flattley will appear before Westminster magistrates.

Operation Elveden runs alongside Operation Weeting, the investigation into alleged phone hacking, primarily at the News of the World.

A third investigation, Operation Tuleta, is probing the alleged hacking of emails to obtain private information by journalists.

Charges and convictions

Some 56 people have been arrested under Operation Elveden, eight of whom have been serving or retired police officers.

Seven people have been charged by the CPS, including former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, Sun chief reporter John Kay and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan-Barber.

The trio, along with David Cameron's former spokesman Andy Coulson and the former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman, are due to appear at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing on 8 March.

Earlier this month Det Ch Insp April Casburn, 53, of the Met Police was the first to be convicted as a result of Operation Elveden of trying to sell information on the phone-hacking probe to the News of the World.

She will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 1 February.

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