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Prison officer jailed for selling information to journalist

PUBLISHED: 17:41 02 June 2015 | UPDATED: 17:41 02 June 2015

General views of Belmarsh prison

General views of Belmarsh prison

Archant

Robert Norman pocketed £10,000

A PRISON officer who was paid more than £10,000 for confidential information he gave to a journalist was jailed for 20 months today.

Robert Norman, 54, from Swanscombe, was found guilty of misconduct in a public office at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Norman, a prison officer at HMP Belmarsh, sold information to the News of the World and the Mirror between April 30, 2006 and May 1, 2011.

The information he gave resulted in 26 articles in the Mirror, for which he was paid £8,384, and five articles in the News of the World, for which he was paid £2,300.

He asked for 15 of the payments to be made to his son to avoid raising suspicion.

The court heard that Norman’s first contact was with the Mirror in 2006, when he called them with a story about staffing cuts at the prison.

He subsequently regularly contacted and was contacted by a journalist working for the paper and provided information about the prison, its staff and high-profile prisoners.

When the journalist moved from the Mirror to the News of the World, contact and payments continued.

Norman was arrested in 2013 and admitted supplying the information but denied that it was purely for personal gain.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs, who leads Operation Elveden, the ongoing investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police, said: “Norman leaked confidential information obtained in the course of his duties to journalists for private gain.

“He was not a whistleblower, as he attempted to claim in court. His corrupt activity was primarily motivated by money.

“Much of the information Norman sold was not in the public interest and often relied on the notoriety of high-profile prisoners. He even passed information about colleagues and some he personally knew through his activities as a union representative.

“Norman breached the considerable trust that was placed in him by the public without reasonable excuse or justification.”

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