Former policeman jailed in England for selling stories to The Sun

Wednesday 27 March 2013 16.48
Alan Tierney pleaded guilty on two counts
Alan Tierney pleaded guilty on two counts

A former police officer has been jailed for ten months for selling details of the arrests of footballer John Terry's mother and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood to The Sun.

Ex-Surrey police constable Alan Tierney was sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting two counts of misconduct earlier this month.

He pleaded guilty to two counts - one between 26 March and 3 April 2009, and a second between 2 and 7 December 2009.

He sold details about Sue Terry and Sue Poole, the mother and mother-in-law of former England football captain John Terry, being arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in Surrey.

He also sold details about the arrest of guitarist Ronnie Wood, 65, on suspicion of beating up his Russian lover Ekaterina Ivanova, who is in her 20s.

Terry, Poole and Wood all accepted cautions over the matters.

Passing sentence at the Old Bailey today, Mr Justice Fulford said that Tierney's offences were "a disgraceful way for a police officer to act".

He said: "It is wholly against the public interest for those who hold public office cynically to profit out of the misery or unfortunate circumstances of those for whom they are responsible."

The court heard that Tierney had sold the name and address of a witness to the Wood incident.

The judge said: "The most serious aspect of the two offences is that, in relation to count two, the defendant provided the name and, most significantly, the address of the witness.

"The fact that the individual coincidentally tried to sell the story to another newspaper is neither here nor there in terms of what this defendant had in mind.

"Put bluntly, it could easily have led to that witness withdrawing all co-operation as regards being a witness."

The court heard that Tierney was one of the officers sent to deal with Ms Terry and Ms Poole when they were stopped by store detectives at a Tesco in Weybridge, Surrey.

After The Sun ran an exclusive story about the arrests, he contacted the tabloid from the email address guildford1@gmail.com, to correct the reported value of the goods involved, from £850 to £1,450.

He was then contacted by journalists of the newspaper, and was offered a "donation" for a detailed account of what the women said and what they were accused of taking.

Tierney also tipped them off when civil legal action was started for compensation.

He was paid with a cheque in his brother-in-law's name.

In relation to the second count, he was called to interview a witness to the incident involving Wood.

Tierney contacted a journalist at The Sun, including making one of the calls while he was at a police station.

He gave the name and address of the witness to the newspaper.

In mitigation, the court heard that most of the details would have eventually become public, and that their leak had not undermined any investigation.

The witness in the Terry case had also approached two other newspapers to try to sell his story.

Defending, Bill Emlyn Jones said Tierney was "an effective and well-regarded police officer" who was commended a number of times during his 11 years as a constable.

He said: "He has lost everything already. He has been dismissed from the job that he loved and he has therefore lost his income, his reputation, his family. His wife has separated from him and contact with his children has been extremely difficult.

"His fall from grace is complete already."

He said that Tierney was genuinely sorry and regretted what had happened.