Met Police officer tells court Sun's story on police ops after Mumbai massacre was a 'heads up' to terrorists - Press Gazette

Met Police officer tells court Sun's story on police ops after Mumbai massacre was a 'heads up' to terrorists

A Metropolitan Police detective superintendent today claimed a Sun story on police operations after the Mumbai massacre gave terrorists a "heads up".

Marshall Kent told the Kingston Crown Court trial of six Sun journalists that the paper "unhelpfully" published confidential anti-terrorism information in November 2010.

Kent told jurors the story, "Mumbai raid fear on Xmas shoppers", revealed police response times and armed unit locations aided those "who wish to do us harm".

The Sun reported that armed police were patrolling shopping centres around London in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks on 27 November 2010, Kingston Crown Court heard. The 2008 Mumbai attacks consisted of 12 coordinated shootings and bombings across Mumbai, killing 164 people.

Sun reporters Mike Sullivan and Simon Hughes said police were patrolling shopping centres  – Bluewater in Kent and Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, London – because of fears terrorists might be planning a similar atrocity in Britain.

The article published pictures of the shopping malls and further details such as police response times.

Kent, based with Counter Terrorism Protective Security at the Met, said: "This is a very serious disclosure from the police service.

"It is not something we would seek to broadcast outside of circles charged with delivering the protection and security of London.

"That is because we wish to maintain a tactical advantage over those who wish to do us harm.

"By revealing our plans, processes and response times, that gives aid to those who wish to cause us harm.

"It gives these people who wish to harm us a heads up – where we are focussing our efforts, where we are placing our assets."

He added: "It will enable any plot to switch location to target other areas, such as underground networks and crowded places.

"We have finite resources and have to make decisions about where these are placed.

"It means we have to spread those assets more thinly.

"Those seeking to do us harm then have an understanding around [police] response times and where those assets and resources are placed… and would seek to go elsewhere to do harm."

Kent claimed the images published by The Sun arguably heightened fear in business communities and members of the public using shopping centres.

Nigel Rumfitt QC, defending head of news Chris Pharo, 45, suggested Kent had "overreacted to a perfectly harmless article in the newspaper".

Rumfitt suggested the contents of the report would not in any way assist a terrorist hiding in a Syrian bunker.

Kent replied that the story had "unreasonably" raised the fear of crime and terrorism in the capital.

Jurors heard that The Sun reported the death of a 17-year-old at a Mayfair nightclub, Whiskey Mist, on 27 April 2010.

The story, "Rooney left dazed as lad of 17 dies yards away", described how the Manchester United striker – Wayne Rooney – looked on as a teenager collapsed and died of a heart attack inside the club.

On 26 April an email allegedly was sent from the account of reporter Ben O'Driscoll, 38, to a number of others, including Journalist A, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Part of it read: "We really need an exclusive line on Whiskey Mint death."

Eight minutes later, Journalist A allegedly responded: "Desp trying to get Chelsea copper to find name of dead."

The article was published the next day.

On 20 May 2010 Surrey Police were contacted about a burglary at the home of former Chelsea footballer Paulo Ferreira.

Calls were then allegedly exchanged between Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt, 51, and former Surrey Detective Constable Simon Quinn.

Police records show Quinn later that day accessing police records in relation to the burglary, jurors heard.

On the same day Pyatt is said to have emailed Pharo: "Got exclusive detail from police contact on Chelsea burglary."

A day later The Sun ran an exclusive by Pyatt, "Blues ace robbed" – and then expensed it for £350, it is claimed.

On 1 July 2010 Pyatt wrote another exclusive, "Hubby kills wife and jumps under a train".

Ann Rees, 45, had been stabbed multiple times to death by her jealous husband Steven, 49, who was later struck by a train at Twyford station, Berkshire.

A day later Pyatt allegedly emailed Pharo, copying in Sun picture editor John Edwards, 50: "My new contact did a brilliant job for me on the man who stabbed his wife to death and jumped in front of a train…

"Could I get him £500 words and £500 from pix please."

Moments later an email from Edwards' account responded: "Yes £500 is fine."

On 8 July Pyatt picked up £500 from the Maidenhead Thomas Cook branch from The Sun newsdesk, it is alleged.

On 30 August The Sun reported the arrest of England footballer Jack Wilshere, "Three Lions Star, 18, nicked".

Wilshere was held with a number of friends by police on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, after a woman was left with a broken elbow outside a swanky London nightclub.

On 7 September Journalist A allegedly emailed O'Driscoll: "Do you remember my Chelsea cop gave the first tip on Wilshere?

"Well he's back on board after having to do a mandatory attachment with the flying squad and I want to give him a bit of cash when I meet him this week.

"I have to pay cash only to keep him off the system.

"But he's an ace contact and WILL bring in stories/stand stuff up/down."

A confidential payment of £500 was raised the very same day for "Wilshere arrested", it is claimed.

On 11 October Journalist A published an exclusive in The Sun, "Mika Sis Impaled after 50ft Plunge".

Pop singer Mika's sister Paloma Penniman had been left critically ill after falling from a fourth-floor window and becoming impaled on railings below in Kensington, London.

The day before Journalist A allegedly emailed O'Driscoll: "The address she fell/impaled both legs on railings is *** [removed by Press Gazette] Gledhow Gardens."

On 18 October Journalist A is said to have emailed Charlotte Hull at The Sun: "Can I please have £750 for a copper for the Excl on 11 October of pop star Mika's sister impaled on railings?"

Hull allegedly replied: "No probs."

Pyatt is accused with Pharo, O'Driscoll, and managing editor Graham Dudman, 51, John Troup, 49, and Edwards, of paying for confidential information at The Sun between 2002 and 2011.

The six defendants are accused of a decade-long campaign of payments to police officers, prison guards, healthcare workers in Broadmoor Hospital, and serving soldiers.

Pharo, of Wapping, east London, denies six counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

O'Driscoll, 38, of Windsor, Berkshire, and Dudman, 51, of Brentwood, Essex, both deny four counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Edwards, of Brentwood, Essex, and Pyatt, of Windsor, deny three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Troup, of Saffron Walden, Essex, denies two counts of misconduct in public office.

The trial continues.



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