Corby prison officer found guilty after selling stories about Bulger killer

Jon Venables
Jon Venables

A prison officer and his partner from Corby have been convicted of receiving payments from a journalist for stories about James Bulger killer Jon Venables.

Scott Chapman, of Seaton Crescent, Corby was accused of selling information to journalists about Venables.

He was aided and abetted by his former partner, Lynn Gaffney, of Belvoir Close, Corby, who ensured the money received went through her bank account. For this effort she received a cut of the money knowing that what she and Chapman were doing was illegal.

The evidence established that over a period of two years a total of £40,000 was paid into Lynn Gaffney’s bank account on behalf of Scott Chapman.

Scott Chapman, Lynn Gaffney and a journalist from the News of the World who cannot be named for legal reasons were found guilty.

Thomas Savage, a Daily Star journalist, was found not guilty.

A jury at the Old Bailey returned its verdicts on Wednesday in a trial that followed an investigation by Operation Elveden.

Operation Elveden was launched in June 2011 investigating allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials. It is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The allegations centred around the abuse of position by a prison officer, Scott Chapman, who was accused of selling information to journalists about Jon Venables.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs, who oversees on Operation Elveden, speaking after the verdicts said:

“Scott Chapman abused his position of trust as a prison officer to sell confidential information to journalists for private gain. He received in the region of £40,000 for these stories.

“Lynn Gaffney aided and abetted Chapman by acting as a conduit to accept payments from the journalist on his behalf in an attempt to cover their tracks.

“A journalist from the News of the World who cannot be named for legal reasons, knew that Chapman was a prison officer and knew he was breaking the law by leaking confidential information for money and conspired with him in that criminality.

“Scott Chapman and Lynn Gaffney were motivated primarily by financial gain; the journalists exploited that to their own advantage without lawful justification.

“The investigations launched under Operation Elveden are not about attacking press freedom or from preventing information that is in the public interest from being published. The police are not here to act as censors.

“However, where criminality has been alleged it is right and important that the police conduct thorough investigations and that the evidence is put before a court.”

The verdicts were returned on Wednesday but could only be reported today (Friday) after the judge, Charles Wide QC, lifted interim reporting restrictions.