A former police sergeant has been jailed for ten months for trying to sell a story about celebrity Katie Price’s daughter to the News of the World.
James Bowes contacted the now-defunct Sunday tabloid newspaper and told a journalist that police child-protection officers had gone to the home of Price’s former husband, Peter Andre, in Brighton.
This followed a report that the couple’s daughter, Princess Tiaamii, then aged two, had been injured in 2010, the Old Bailey heard. The team found no untoward injuries to the child and the matter was not taken further, the court was told.
But Bowes, who worked in Brighton for Sussex Police, e-mailed the newspaper asking for money for the information.
The story was printed with information from another source and Bowes was never paid.
Bowes, 30, from Steyning, West Sussex, pleaded guilty last month at the Old Bailey to misconduct in public office.
The court also heard that he passed information to The Sun about a child who was bitten by a fox, and was paid £500.
And he passed on details of a psychic who had contacted police in 2010 about a search for bodies in two former Brighton homes of serial killer Peter Tobin, but was not paid.
Bowes is the fourth police officer to be imprisoned after prosecutions under the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Elveden, which is investigating inappropriate payments from journalists to public officials.
Mr Justice Fulford told Bowes: “You have made available to the press confidential information concerning children. Your explanation is that it was a foolish attempt by you to be in some part associated with notorious or high-profile cases.”
Bowes had abused his position of trust and undermined the relationship the police had with the public. Stephen Wedd, defending, said Bowes had now given £500 to the Crimestoppers charity, and had been sacked. Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, told the court that Bowes had access to the police computer to get information about the three reports in 2010.
Andre and Price had separated and there was a report of injuries to the couple’s daughter.
The following day, Bowes e-mailed the News of the World, but was told that the newspaper already had the information.
“Clearly, the News of the World had access to other sources,” he added. Bowes had e-mailed The Sun after a fox attacked a child at a birthday party and was paid after providing the contact details of the parents. The father told the court he had to move his family away from their home until the fuss died down.
Bowes also contacted the newspaper about the psychic who was later contacted by a journalist. No story was published and Bowes was not paid, but the psychic said she had lost confidence in the police.
Mr Bryant-Heron told the court the child-protection team “established very quickly that there were no injuries” to Tiaamii. He said: “Peter Andre has made a statement saying he was hurt and embarrassed by the story.”