UK

Operation Elveden: Milly Dowler leak policeman jailed

Milly Dowler Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, 13, went missing in March 2002

A former police officer who leaked details of the Milly Dowler murder investigation to the Sun newspaper has been jailed for 18 months.

Simon Quinn, 43, of Horsham, West Sussex, was paid at least £7,000 for information over a 10-year period.

He supplied details from murder inquiries and investigations involving celebrities, before resigning from Surrey Police in 2011.

Quinn pleaded guilty in October last year to misconduct in public office.

The ex-detective constable, who admitted misconduct between 1 November 2000 and 30 January 2011, was arrested by the Met Police in 2013.

He was arrested as part of Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard's investigation into corrupt payments to public officials.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs, the officer in charge of the investigation, said Quinn was the ninth police officer and the 27th public official to be convicted of selling confidential information to journalists.

"Their dishonest actions merit criminal convictions," he said.

"It is the role of a police officer to serve and protect. Leaking sensitive and confidential information is an abuse of the trust the public hold in us," he added.

Public outrage

Deputy Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave, from Surrey Police, said any police officer who sold information to journalists was guilty of an "appalling abuse" of trust.

The force "fully supported" Operation Elveden and had officers working with the Met on the case, he added.

Quinn, who was sentenced at the Old Bailey, admitted leaking details of the police investigation into Milly Dowler, who vanished in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, as she walked home from school on 21 March 2002.

Her remains were found in Hampshire six months later.

Revelations that the 13-year-old's mobile phone had also been hacked by a private investigator prompted public outrage over the ethics and practices of the UK media, and led to News International closing the News of the World in 2011.

Meanwhile, an ex-News of the World journalist, whose conviction for paying public officials was quashed last week, will not face a retrial, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Last week the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of the journalist - who cannot be named - a prison officer and his friend.

The reporter was given a six-month suspended sentence in November.

The Court of Appeal, led by The Lord Chief Justice, ruled that the trial judge, Charles Wide, had mis-directed the jury at the Old Bailey on the issue of "seriousness" of the offence.

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