'Sun' royal editor arrested on suspicion of conspiracy

Fri, Apr 20, 2012, 01:00

THE ROYAL editor of the Sun newspaper has been arrested by detectives investigating alleged illegal payments to public officials.

Duncan Larcombe (36) was held in a dawn swoop on his home in Kent yesterday on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Elveden also arrested a former member of the armed forces (42) and a woman (38) at their house in Lancashire.

Police said the arrests were prompted by information provided by News Corporation’s management standards committee, which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World last July.

Larcombe was the Sun’s royal correspondent from 2005 to 2009, then was appointed defence editor for 14 months. He returned to the royal beat in January last year and has acknowledged a pattern of paying public officials by the Murdoch organisation, which also publishes newspapers in Ireland.

Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, Larcombe said in a written statement: “There have been several occasions when I, as royal editor, have paid people money for stories or pictures that have ended up in the paper. Some of these people have become regular ‘tipsters’ while others may only have been a one-off.”

Twenty-six people have now been arrested since last July as part of Operation Elveden, which is linked to the Metropolitan Police’s continuing phone-hacking investigation Operation Weeting. – (PA)