Tracey Connolly

Tracey Connelly

A former prison officer from north London could be locked up behind bars for selling story tips to the Daily Mirror.

Joseph De Souza, 51, sold a string of tips about the treatment of Tracey Connelly to the Daily Mirror after she was jailed for the death of her infant son, Peter.

His leaks resulted in four published articles. He received £950 over more than two years while he worked at the prison, for adult women inmates and young offenders.

De Souza, who now works as a bus driver, pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office between March 2007 and June 2009 at an Old Bailey hearing yesterday.

Judge Timothy Pontius adjourned the case and warned De Souza, of Manger Road, Holloway, that he may face jail when he returns for a sentencing hearing on October 9.

He said: “Plainly, given the nature and seriousness of the offence, the court must consider among various options a prison sentence.”

De Souza was identified when Mirror bosses, having conducted an internal review, handed over evidence to the police.

His contact at the paper, Victoria Ward, was interviewed under caution about the payments, but was told by police she would face no further action.

De Souza is the latest public official to be convicted under the Met’s Operation Elveden probe into corruption between the press and public officials.

Det Chief Supt Gordon Briggs, leading on Elveden, said: “De Souza leaked confidential information obtained in the course of his duties to a journalist for private gain. He was not a whistleblower and his corrupt activity was motivated by money.

“De Souza breached the trust that was placed in him by the public without reasonable excuse or justification. His dishonest actions damaged the public interest and merit criminal sanction.”

De Souza was released on bail, on condition that he co-operates with his probation officer and stays at his home address.

 

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