A SENIOR counter-terrorism detective from Essex, who is the first person to be convicted under the fresh investigations into corruption and phone hacking, has been jailed for 15 months.

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Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was sentenced at the Old Bailey for misconduct in public office for offering to sell information to the News of the World (NotW).

Mr Justice Fulford told her it was “a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information”.

The 53-year-old, from Hatfield Peverel, is currently in the process of adopting a child, and the judge said had that not been the case he would have sentenced her to three years.

He said her offence could not be described as whistle-blowing, and went on: “If the News of the World had accepted her offer, it’s clear, in my view, that Ms Casburn would have taken the money and, as a result, she posed a significant threat to the integrity of this important police investigation.”

The judge went on: “Activity of this kind is deeply damaging to the administration of criminal justice in this country. It corrodes the public’s faith in the police force, it can lead to the acquittal or the failure by the authorities to prosecute individuals who have committed offences whether they are serious or otherwise.

“We are entitled to expect the very highest standards of probity from our police officers, particularly those at a senior level.

“It is, in my judgment, a very serious matter indeed when men or women who have all the benefits, privileges and responsibilities of public office use their position for corrupt purposes.”

He said he was particularly concerned about Casburn’s child, and admitted that her absence while she is in prison could be damaging.

But he said that, had she not been arrested, the detective would have returned to work by now, and therefore the child would be cared for by others anyway.

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