November 5, 2011 · 0 Comments
Detained … Pyatt posing as James Bond on his Facebook page.
LONDON: Detectives investigating corrupt payments between journalists and police officers have arrested a reporter from The Sun, involving the daily tabloid in the scandal for the first time.
Jamie Pyatt, the paper’s Thames Valley district reporter, was arrested at his home in Windsor on Friday.
It is the first time a member of staff at Rupert Murdoch’s daily red top has been implicated in the scandal engulfing News International, which is involved in three separate police investigations.
Pyatt, 48, has worked for The Sun for more than 20 years. It is understood that News International executives knew on Thursday that Pyatt would be arrested and he was held following the discovery of an email that allegedly made reference to him paying a police contact.
It is believed the email was found by News International and handed to the Metropolitan Police.
Sources said all staff at The Sun are presently subject to a trawl of their emails from the past five years.
A senior News International source suggested the internal investigation was prompted by fears in the Murdoch family that the scandal would spread to the daily tabloid.
The source said: ”News International appears to be giving up their own people in order to save the skin of Rupert and James Murdoch.”
The arrest came days before James Murdoch was due to be questioned by a parliamentary committee.
He will be asked whether he knew that phone hacking was widespread at News of the World.
MPs will ask whether Mr Murdoch saw the advice from Michael Silverleaf, QC, who warned executives in June 2008 there was ”overwhelming evidence” that journalists were involved in hacking.
Pyatt has been involved in some of The Sun’s most memorable stories. In 2006 he was shortlisted at the British Press Awards for his disclosure that Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party. He had covered the murder of teenager Milly Dowler, whose voicemail was hacked by News of the World when she went missing
Operation Elveden was launched in July after News International provided the police with emails alleging that corrupt police officers had received payments totalling about £130,000 ($200,000) over several years.
By Emma Brown