Corby prison officer accused of selling information to national newspapers

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A prison officer from Corby and his ex-partner are accused of selling information to national newspapers for thousands of pounds.

Today (Thursday, July 18) the first non-News International journalist to be charged over alleged corrupt payments to public officials was among six newspaper staff who appeared in court.

Tom Savage, 38, deputy news editor from the Daily Star Sunday, is accused of paying Scott Chapman, 41, of Corby, from high-security HMP Woodhill for information on a high-profile inmate.

Savage is facing one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

The public gallery at Westminster Magistrates’ Court was packed with supporters as a number of journalists made their first appearance.

Savage, from East Dulwich, south-east London, was charged last week with former News of the World crime editor Lucy Panton, 38, from Ashtead in Surrey, who is accused of one count of the same offence.

Prosecutors claim Chapman and his ex-partner Lynn Gaffney received thousands of pounds from a number of newspapers.

Chapman is accused of having sold the 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 between March 2010 and June 2011, receiving payments through Gaffney.

He and Gaffney, 38, also from Corby, are each facing four counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

In a separate case, Sun journalist Chris Pharo, 44, is facing accusations that he authorised payments to public officials employed at Broadmoor secure hospital, Thames Valley, Surrey and Metropolitan Police, officers in the British Army and prison officials between January 2006 and December 2010.

Pharo, from Wapping, east London, who was news editor and then head of news at the Sun, is accused of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

In a third case, Sun journalist Jamie Pyatt, 49, and pictures editor John Edwards, 49, were in court to face an allegation that they conspired to pay public officials.

It is claimed that between March 22, 2002 and January 12, 2011, both conspired with unknown public officials employed at Broadmoor, as well as employees at Thames Valley and Surrey Police forces, and British Army officials, to commit misconduct in a public office.

Pyatt, of Orchard Avenue, Windsor, and Edwards, of Hutton, Brentwood, Essex, are accused along with a former healthcare assistant at Broadmoor, Robert Neave, 59, from Knowsley in Merseyside, who is due to appear at the same court later this afternoon.

Sun journalist Nick Parker and prison officer Lee Brockhouse, who was based at HMP Swaleside in Kent, also appeared this morning.

Parker, 52, from Twickenham, is accused of three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, and Brockhouse, 43, from Sittingbourne in Kent, is accused of misconduct in public office.

All nine defendants who were in court this morning were released on bail to appear at the Old Bailey on August 6.