‘Corrosive’ two jailed for selling stories to newspaper

A former police constable and a prison officer have been jailed for selling information to the Sun newspaper.

Ex-Surrey Pc Alan Tierney and Richard Trunkfield, who worked at high security Woodhill prison near Milton Keynes, were both sentenced at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Tierney, 40, from Hayling Island, Hampshire, sold details of the separate arrests of footballer John Terry’s mother and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, while Trunkfield passed on details about one of James Bulger’s killers, Jon Venables.

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Both admitted misconduct in public office earlier this month.

Trunkfield has since resigned from Woodhill prison and Venables is no longer being held there, the court heard.

He received 16 months, while Tierney was jailed for 10 months.

Passing sentence on both men in separate hearings, Mr Justice Fulford said: “This country has long prided itself on the integrity of its public officials and cynical acts of betrayal of that high standard have a profoundly corrosive effect.”

New father Trunkfield, 31, from Moulton, Northamptonshire, had contact with a journalist at the Sun between 10 and 15 times and received £3,500 for information.

The judge told him: “It’s for those in authority to decide on the extent to which, if at all, it’s in the public interest to reveal the details concerning a particular defendant, balancing a wide range of factors.

“It is most assuredly not for individual prison officers to take it upon themselves to contact the press to reveal information about a defendant in circumstances such as those before the court today, still less to enrich themselves in the process.”

In mitigation, the court heard that Trunkfield had no direct contact with Venables and passed on minor details such as what he was eating, including burger and chips.

After he saw the stories that were being published, he assigned his journalist contact a different ringtone so he could ignore the calls, the court heard.

It was also claimed that information was being leaked by another, unidentified source at the prison.