By Martin Hickman
Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt picked up stories from sources other than a Surrey police officer who was receiving cash payments from the paper, he told The Sun corruption trial today.
The Crown claims that Mr Pyatt conspired to commit misconduct in a public office by requesting payments for information given to him by police constable Simon Quinn.
However Mr Pyatt says that the information provided by Pc Quinn about murders and newsworthy crimes was not confidential, often limited and in the public interest.
As part of that defence, Mr Pyatt said that several of the stories which the Crown claim Pc Quinn helped with actually came to him from other sources.
Mr Pyatt acknowledged that Pc Quinn had been paid for helping The Sun on a story about the burglary of Chelsea defender Paolo Ferreira burglary, “Blues Ace Robbed”. However he denied he was the original tipster. “I won’t say who the initial tipster is, but he’s involved with Chelsea Football Club,” Mr Pyatt said.
He said he contacted Pc Quinn to give him “the heads up” about the story. According to Mr Pyatt’s lawyer Richard Kovalevsky, Pc Quinn accessed records about the story.
Mr Pyatt told the court: “He confirmed the story as true.”
He said there was a public interest in publishing the story, saying there had been a spate of burglaries of footballers’ homes.
“There was a feeling there was someone on the inside who knew when houses would be empty and empty for a substantial period of time,” Mr Pyatt said. “We’re highlighting a bit of a pattern.”
He told Kingston Crown Court that his own wife – rather than Pc Quinn – tipped him off about the murder of 18-year-old Asha Muneer, killed by her boyfriend on a towpath on the River Kennett in Reading, Berkshire in 2010.
Mr Pyatt said that his wife had spotted the crime scene at 7am as she travelled to work at Optical Express in the town and rang him.
Mr Pyatt, who worked from an office in his home Windsor, said he commissioned INS news agency to look into the incident, being investigated by Thames Valley Police.
He agreed that within hours of the murder he had obtained the name of Craig Tull, the jogger who found the murder victim, and doorstepped him at his home at 4.30pm.
Mr Pyatt told the court that he had obtained the name of the witness from another source rather than Pc Quinn, who was paid for his assistance on the story.
“This was a different police force: Mr Quinn was in Surrey,” Mr Pyatt told the court.
The case continues.