A former prison officer at top-security HMP Belmarsh tipped off a journalist about a Roman Catholic chaplain having relationships with inmates because he believed it was being “swept under the carpet”, a court has heard.
Robert Norman, 54, is accused of committing misconduct in a public office by becoming the “paid mole” of reporter Stephen Moyes while he worked at the Daily Mirror and later at the News of the World.
Norman, who was also a Prison Officers’ Association union representative, was allegedly paid more than £10,000 for 40 tips to Mr Moyes between April 30 2006 and May 1 2011, his Old Bailey trial has heard.
But giving evidence in his defence, Norman denied being Mr Moyes’ “man at Belmarsh” and insisted he wanted to highlight what was going on at the south London prison.
Under cross examination, he was quizzed on records about a £200 payment for a story about the Chaplain sacked by Belmarsh for “affairs with inmates”.
Norman agreed that he gave Mr Moyes information about “inappropriate behaviour” by the priest and the fact that he had been suspended.
Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC asked if that meant the prison had taken action and there was therefore no need to highlight the case in the press.
Norman responded: “Not, really no. Swept under the carpet, it was going to be.”
He told jurors that when he first spoke to Mr Moyes about it he believed that the chaplain was not going to be dealt with “in the correct manner” and the authorities planned only to move him.
He said: “They were not going to suspend him. There’s more to this than what you are reading here and I don’t know how far I can go without the court saying it’s hearsay.”
When the barrister suggested he was making it up as he went along, Norman replied: “I’ve got no reason to make things up. I’ve given a full and frank interview and I have been as honest as I can about this.”
The defendant allegedly channelled cheques from newspapers through his son’s bank account.
But he repeatedly denied that his son Daniel knew anything about his dealings with Mr Moyes adding that they never discussed where the money was coming from.
Mr Christopher asked: “You would not have said ‘I’m making some handy money on the side from the Mirror’?”.
The defendant replied: “No sir, I would not.”
Norman, of Milton Street, Swanscombe, Kent, denies the charge against him and the trial continues.