Former NoW reporter: 'News International broke the first rule of journalism by failing to protect Casburn'

The journalist whose testimony saw April Casburn jailed for 15 months today said he believed she had been sacrificed by  “big business, intent on protecting its reputation and share price".

Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was convicted on the basis of an email written by then News of the World reporter Tim Wood in September 2010.

It said:

“PHONE TAPPING. A senior policewoman … who claims to be working on the phone-tapping investigation wants to sell inside info on the police inquiry. She says the investigation was launched yesterday (Fri) by Yates and he is using ‘counter-terrorist assets’, which is highly unusual. An intelligence development team is being used and they are looking at six people. Coulson, Hoare and a woman she cannot remember the name of. The three other people used to work for the News of the World and police do not know where they are now (she did not know their names either). Pressure to conduct the inquiry is coming from Lord Prescott.”

Now working for investigative journalism website Exaro, he says he was told by police that the email was handed over by News Corp's Management and Standards Committee.

But Press Gazette understands that the email may have in fact been discovered by police themselves, possibly after they seized computers during a search of the News of the World offices in April 2011. 

Press Gazette has asked both News International and the Management and Standards Committee for an on the record statement as to how the email ended up in police hands.

After seeking advice from the NUJ, Wood said he was left with no alternative than to confirm to police last year that he wrote the email because he had been "totally compromised".

He said he believed that Casburn was not trying to sell a story and that in any case the News of the World would never have published such a story.

He said: “Casburn was seeking reward in return for information that might help a large corporation defend itself against damaging allegations, rather than for a story to be published by a newspaper.”

However, he still believes that News International "broke  the first rule of journalism by failing to protect a confidential source".

Full story on Exaro.

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