Sun reporter asked for 'full debriefings' from soldier on movements of Prince Harry in Afghanistan, court hears - Press Gazette

Sun reporter asked for 'full debriefings' from soldier on movements of Prince Harry in Afghanistan, court hears

A senior reporter at The Sun used a soldier to keep close tabs on the movements of Prince Harry (pictured, Reuters) when he was deployed to Afghanistan, a court heard today.

Jamie Pyatt, 51, allegedly demanded "full debriefings" with the soldier and a diary of Prince Harry's movements in the war zone from October 2007 to May 2008.

The former member of the Household Cavalry kept Pyatt abreast of Harry's movements throughout the Helmand province, jurors heard.

Pyatt told colleagues Prince Harry was "dodging bombs and bullets with the best of them", while arranging for payments to be made to the source, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Prince Harry, commissioned as a second lieutenant with the Blues and Royals, spent 77 days fighting in Helmand, Afghanistan, between 2007 and 2008.

The court heard of emails sent from Pyatt to former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, which discussed the contact serving alongside the fourth-in-line to the throne.

"My guy serving alongside him says Harry was moved up to the front line on the 24 [December]… he's not being kept in a back-room role, he's literally dodging the bombs and bullets with the best of them."

A further email asked for a "full debriefing" once the contact returned from Afghanistan, and a "full diary of what Harry has been doing".

He met with reporters from The Sun on 10 May 2008 following his return to discuss a fellow Sandhurst soldier beaten unconscious during a brawl outside Windsor Castle, it was said.

On 13 May an article appeared in The Sun headlined "Harry Afghan Hero Battered in Windsor Castle", jurors heard.

Pyatt arranged him to be wined and dined in Windsor in September 2008. He was then chauffeur-driven to his barracks after helping The Sun with their story "Harry the Taliban", it is said.

The story told of Prince Harry dressing up as a Taliban fighter for training manoeuvres, and the prince's hope he could be redeployed to Afghanistan the next year.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC took the jury through a lengthy timeline of emails and telephone calls involving Pyatt and a healthcare assistant at Broadmoor, as well as Graham Dudman, Chris Pharo and Ben O'Driscoll.

Pyatt is accused with head of news Pharo, 45, deputy news editor O'Driscoll, 38, managing editor Dudman, 51, John Troup, 49, and picture editor John Edwards, 50, of corruption at The Sun between 2002 and 2011.

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

In late 2008 The Sun allegedly paid £650 to a Broadmoor healthcare assistant for a story on double-murderer Robert Napper, "Rachel 'killer' on suicide watch".

One email from Dudman to Pyatt read: "Jamie I expect I know the answers, but just for the files can you drop me a line to say why we need to pay cash for the following stories: 'Maniac stabs two nurses in hospital,' 'Rachel "killer" on suicide watch,' and 'Soldiers' fireball?'"

Pyatt responded the same day: "Rather not have it spelled out on your files for my protection and yours… but I can spell it out if absolutely essential. One is a police story, one is a Broadmoor story, and one is an army story… hopefully that is sufficient."

On 5 December Pyatt and the healthcare worker spoke on the telephone twice, and four times between 18-23 December, including one call from a Sun landline number to the healthcare worker's mobile phone.

The next day an article appeared in The Sun about an attack on Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe's life by a fellow inmate, "I will blind your one good eye".

It described how Sutcliffe, who killed 13 people between 1975 and 1980, was viciously attacked with a knife.

On 26 December Pyatt sent an email to O'Driscoll: "As discussed, need to get following cash payments through… there's a major mole hunt for my guy, and obviously he can't have NI [News International] payments in his bank account."

A number of references to different stories published in The Sun were made, including Sutcliffe attack which was expensed for £1,000.

Another of the stories referenced included "Sick or Treat", written by Pyatt on 31 October 2008.

Pyatt and the healthcare worker exchanged a number of phone calls and emails on 30 October before the story was run, which detailed how inmates at Broadmoor had been treated to a three-hour Halloween party.

Jurors were then told an article appeared in The Sun "Cadet Sergeant Killed Cop" on 15 April 2006.

It described the death of West Yorkshire-born PC Joe Carroll, 46, who died following a crash in Hexham, Northumberland, on 13 April 2006.

A Sandhurst staff sergeant, Steven Graham, was jailed for five-and-a-half-years for his manslaughter.

Regimental Sergeant Major Ian Shaw was approached by the Metropolitan Police in October 2013 investigating how The Sun had accessed a picture of Graham from his lineout in 2006, which was published alongside the April 15 article.

Jurors were shown the image, which is said to be not widely accessible in the public domain.

"The photographs are taken annually," RSM Shaw said.

"The corridor where the photograph hangs is out-of-bound to cadets, access to the department is open to all other members of staff.

"Access is out-of-bounds to cadets unless they need to see a member of staff.

"If the photograph were to be released into the public domain there would be a procedure. I expect it would have to be approved at command level.

"I'm not aware that there was contact with the media at the time.

"There is a policy that anything going to the press goes through the press office."

Nigel Rumfitt QC, for Pharo, argued that lineout photographs were "bog-standard" souvenirs found in the living rooms of proud fathers.

RSM Shaw said the photograph could have been copied.

Wright then showed jurors emails sent between a Sun reporter, referred to as Journalist A, and a former policeman, known as Public Officer B, in June 2008.

The emails concerned a raid Public Officer B had been involved in of the house of Hans Kristian Rausing, the son of billionaire Tetrapak owner Hans Rausing.

Public Officer B forwarded sensitive information about the raid on Rausing's house to a Hotmail email address associated with Journalist A.

Journalist A responded: "Thanks for the tip. We have done stories about Hans Rausing before… P.S can I pay you for information, a least a tip fee?"

"How much are you talking about?" replied Public Officer B.

Journalist A explained: "Normal tipsters make around £750 a tip if they make the front page."

The next day The Sun ran the article "Drug Billionaire on Run After Raid".

Jurors later heard Pyatt and the healthcare assistant were in contact in the days before more stories were published about Napper.

On 19 December 2008 The Sun published a picture and story about Napper being given a "job" as the chicken and rabbit feeder at Broadmoor.

Contact between the pair also preceded another story published on 29 December, "Beast of Friends", which described Napper's move to the cell adjacent to Yorkshire Ripper Sutcliffe.

In the lead up to Christmas, Pyatt allegedly described his source via email as a "goldmine" who would provide the sum "endlessly".

Kingston Crown Court heard that The Sun was willing to pay up to £5,000 for exclusive pictures of Napper in Broadmoor grounds.

In another email on 8 January, Pyatt wrote: "Meet Broadmoor contact and pay him for series of exclusives over New Year period.

"Meal with him, entertain and work with him on upcoming stories."

In June 2010 The Sun ran an article, "Freeview device mistaken for bomb in jail scare", where a package was tossed over a prison wall at HMP Swaleside containing a Freeview Box and remote control.

Jurors heard a reporter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, emailed Pharo for £250: "Need to fix cash payment for exclusive about freeview bomb jail scare.

"It's going to a serving officer who gets us good stuff."

James Carmichael, governor of HMP Swaleside, told the court a prison officer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was suspended for his involvement in the leaking of information.

"As a prison officer he would have had a range of duties, predominantly within the residential function," Carmichael said.

"He would have had quite a good deal of contact on a daily basis with prisoners – general supervision."

Carmichael explained that the prison officer would have signed a Professional Standards Statement.

"It's to lay out acceptable standards of behaviour," Carmichael said.

"We also have a code of discipline in terms of expected behaviour and the consequences if you fall short of these."

He went on to describe the disclosure of information picked up during the course of duty for payment as "unacceptable".

Carmichael said: "We have got a responsibility to make sure we hold onto that information safely – to lose that would undermine public confidence in the service."

Prosecutor Peter Wright took the jury through the expected standard of conduct within the prison service.

In response to Wright asking whether payment to officers for information was authorised, Carmichael replied: "No."

Wright asked: "Would communication to a representative of the press by an individual officer be authorised?"

"No," replied Carmichael. "We have to make sure the information we are giving them is verifiable and true."

Richard Kovalevsky QC, for Pyatt, asked Carmichael whether the public had a right to certain information from inside a prison.

Carmichael replied that it did, but through the "defined" channels available to staff for the purposes of accuracy.

"Is the bottom line that the prison would like to retain information which otherwise would be available to the public?" asked Mr Kovalevsky.

"Only for the purposes of accuracy," said Carmichael.

"Depending on the level of information disclosed, there could be implications for the stability and security at the prison.

"Reputational damage between the prison service and the public too.

"Depending on what has been reported there could be a disturbance within a prison, or a loss of confidence between staff and prisoners."

Jurors heard Pyatt had written a story about a couple caught "bonking" in a car outside Windsor Castle back in May 2009.

Days later Pyatt allegedly expensed the tip off from Quinn, referring to the event in the expense email as the "Queen shaggers" and "boozy bonkers".

Pyatt said he would be meeting Quinn the next day to find out more details about the couple's names and address, the court heard.

Pyatt described Quinn as demanding cash payments in order to protect his job, which resulted in a £3,000 payout in total.

Hours after glamour model Jordan's ex-boyfriend Dane Bowers was arrested for drink driving it May 2009, Quinn forwarded police details on the arrest to Pyatt, jurors heard.

Moments later Quinn began accessing police reports and Surrey Police held-vehicle details and intelligence relating to Bowers' arrest.

Pyatt described Quinn in an email to Pharo as "high up there", the court heard, and said he hoped he could "look after him well".

"He has given me every cough and spit and has been with me since Mick Hucknall splash, he's looking at a couple of grand," the email read to the court continued.

"Nobody would have had the Jordan stuff, it would have been all screened away."

Pyatt, of Windsor, denies three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

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

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

Edwards, of Brentwood, Essex, denies three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

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

The trial continues.



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