A 'CORRUPT' police officer convicted of selling information about the phone hacking inquiry has lost an appeal against having her pension slashed.
Former detective chief inspector April Casburn, from Hatfield Peverel, was the first police officer to be prosecuted during Operation Elveden, a probe into payments by journalists to officials.
The 54-year-old was jailed for 15 months in February 2013 for offering inside information on the hacking investigation to reporters at the News of the World.
Following her release, the ex-policewoman appealed against a decision to cut her police pension by 40 per cent, the equivalent of £140,000, an appeal which was this week rejected by a judge at the Old Bailey in London.
In finding that the decision to cut down Casburn's pension was 'proportionate and fair', judge Charles Wilde, said: "It is a very severe matter that a police officer as senior of the appellant has been so persistently untruthful as well as corrupt.
"It is a worrying fact that in the notice of the appeal the appellant is still advancing an untruthful account. It was bound to have significant impact on public perception of police and trust they can put in the police.
"Even with a reduced pension the appellant is likely to be better off than many others."
The decision to reduce Ms Casburn's pension was made by the pensions supervising office at the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime following her conviction.
The former senior officer, who specialised in counter-terrorism, claimed it was a 'day of madness' that led to her offering inside information on the phone hacking inquiry to journalists at the News of the World in September 2010.
While walking to a local supermarket she used her personal mobile to call the tabloid, informing reporter Tim Wood of the launch of the investigation, and the names of key persons being investigated, sabotaging much of the early work that had been done on the case.
Her cash demands were revealed in Operation Elveden, the Met's inquiry into claims of inappropriate payments to police and public officials, and she was arrested in December 2011.
Defence barrister Nicholas Lobbenberg QC told the court that the conviction of Casburn, who now works in a shoe repair shop, had taken place in a 'blaze of publicity'.
He said: "Would a court at the time of sentence have imposed a fine of such a value? What price is to be added to the ruin of this particular appellant? This is about £140,000 and that's not compound, so it will be more than that.
"She has served 19 years unblemished without a taint of corruption on her. That has to be placed against her offence, rank as it may be, it is but a day of madness."
A CONTROVERSIAL decision to switch off street lights overnight has placed residents in 'unnecessary danger' and turned neighbourhoods into a 'paradise for criminals', according to a national worker's union.
GMB, which has more than 600,000 members in various industries across the UK, has lashed out at Essex County Council's part-night lighting scheme which plunges streets into darkness between midnight and 5am to cut costs and carbon emissions.
It claims that the authority has struck the wrong balance between saving cash and residents' safety by pushing ahead with the roll-out of the scheme across the county.
Michelle Bacon, GMB regional officer, said "For more than 100 years we have taken street lighting for granted.
"GMB has serious concerns that by switching off the lights to save money Essex County Council has put residents in unnecessary danger.
"How do people know if they are getting into a licensed taxi or cab if they cannot identify the details because there is a lack of street lighting?
"How will the councils respond to an increase in crime or will they simply blame the already overstretched police service?
"Lighting at night is also a critical element to CCTV operations to deter and enable action to be taken against criminals.
"It has risked turning residential areas like Basildon into a paradise for criminals and has left the most vulnerable in society scared witless."
Trialled in the Maldon and Uttlesford districts since 2007, the multi-million pound project – the biggest of its kind in the country – is designed to shave about 20 per cent off the council's £4.5 million annual energy bill.
By turning off street lights between midnight and 5am using a central management system at County Hall, at a cost of £6.6 million, the scheme will save an estimated £1 million each year once fully operational.
Since the end of last month it has been fully rolled out across the county, six months after the lights first went out in the Chelmsford district.
But Michael Guyll, an Essex representative for taxi drivers within GMB, believes that up to 90 per cent of his colleagues are also opposed to the scheme.
"It's so dark that as a taxi driver you find people speed more and that with so many potholes you can't spot them until the last minute, even street signs are very hard to see," said Michael, who has been driving cabs in the county for 15 years.
"There's so many people coming out the pubs and most of them try to stop a cab by jumping in front of them.
"I just think it's more of a gimmick, it ticks their boxes but the council wastes money on lots of its projects. It's not only safety, it's a confidence thing."
A MAN convicted of drug smuggling in the Czech Republic staged a last-gasp protest against his extradition by climbing an advertising tower near Waterloo Bridge in London.
Daniel Macdonald, 31, of Tree Beard Copse, South Woodham Ferrers, was due to be extradited on Thursday (April 17) but left his home early that morning and mounted the advertising stand in Doon Street at about 7am.
He displayed a pink banner asking for help to find an unnamed CID officer who he claims met him in Edmonton Police station in 2011 and made him sign papers guaranteeing that Czech police will not prosecute.
Despite taking food and water "for days" he was talked down by police officers shortly after 2pm.
According to the Free Daniel Macdonald Facebook page Macdonald was granted an extra ten days of bail in order to try and locate the missing CID officer ahead of his bail return date on April 27. The page also claimed on Tuesday night that Macdonald and the Metropolitan Police had found the officer in question.
A spokesman from the Free Daniel Macdonald Facebook page said: "Daniel had been up on the scaffolding under the advertising board and came down after the police promised to help him locate the female CID officer. Let's hope they stick to their promise."
Macdonald has protested his innocence during his trial, claiming that he was the victim of an elaborate honey trap scam after falling in love with a Lebanese girl.
He was arrested in Prague in November 2009 on suspicion of importing 10.84kg of cannabis from Lebanon and given a six-and-a-half year sentence in his absence.
The former sales manager lost his second appeal at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 12 this year and will now be extradited to Prague and may serve time in the notorious Pankrác Prison.
He had put on the Facebook page earlier on Thursday: "I'm currently up the top of an advertising column 80ft up in Waterloo Bridge, London, with enough food/water for days. Someone must know who this CID officer is. I'll jump before I go back to Prague."
In 2011, Macdonald claims he was granted freedom by a CID officer who signed papers saying he would not be prosecuted, but the officer could not be located and evidence of the meeting had yet to be shown. Macdonald has been contesting his extradition on grounds of poor mental health.
Macdonald said in March this year how he met a Lebanese girl while on holiday in Beirut and he believes that she helped stash the drugs on him before he left to board a flight to the UK via Prague. "I'd rather die than go back there," he said.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Around 7.40am we received a report of a man who mounted a structure near Doon Street.
"He came down shortly after 2pm after officers talked him down at the scene and arrested him for the breach of bail conditions."