Barnsley woman spared jail over press leaks about royal family

Tracey Bell, a former member of staff at Sandhurst military college who leaked private details about the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to a tabloid newspaper.
Tracey Bell, a former member of staff at Sandhurst military college who leaked private details about the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to a tabloid newspaper.
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A woman from Barnsley who worked at Sandhurst military college and leaked private details about the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to a national tabloid newspaper has been spared jail.

Tracey Bell, a pharmacist’s assistant employed by the Ministry of Defence, pocketed around £1,000 in exchange for information about the royals.

She supplied a tabloid newspaper reporter with details of Princes William and Harry for five stories written between 2005 and 2006.

Military bosses suspected Bell of the leaks after stories based on classified information appeared in the press.

She was moved to a different position within the college, the Old Bailey heard.

Bell, aged 35, pleaded guilty to one charge of committing misconduct in a public office.

Sentencing Bell to a nine-month jail term, suspended for two years, Mr Justice Saunders said: “Not only was (selling the information) a breach of her duty as a public official, but also a breach as a medical professional.

“This is not a case where it could ever be said that there was a real case for disclosure (in the public domain).”

He said she had ‘made use of her position and the presence of members of the royal family at Sandhurst to make a profit out of selling information about them,’ but added that he did not regard it as the ‘most serious example of this offending’

Mr Justice Saunders said that although Bell did not hold a very senior post at Sandhurst, she was bound by the Official Secrets Act and by protocols in relation to the media disclosures.

The court was told how Bell, of Cooperative Street, was unwell at the time of the offending and allegedly in an abusive relationship.

Defending Bell, Japinder Singh, said his client ‘showed remorse’ and had got her life back on track.

But he said she continued to suffer health problems.

He added: “This whole experience has had a significant effect on her. There are no indications of her committing further offences.”