The Sun had 'Wild West' safe full of 'explosive' scandals

'Eye-popping' reports, pictures and videos kept in 7ft-high safe, reveals former deputy news editor

The Sun newspaper
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

The Sun newspaper kept a "Wild West" style safe containing "explosive" but unprintable scandals about politicians and celebrities, a court has heard.

Ben O'Driscoll, former deputy news editor at the tabloid, has told Kingston Crown Court that more than 30 years of "eye-popping" reports, pictures and videos were kept in the 7ft-high safe.

O'Driscoll, 38, from Windsor, Berkshire, is on trial accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. He allegedly paid two serving police officers and a Broadmoor healthcare assistant for stories published in The Sun, reports Press Gazette.

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"At the time I was there, there was an enormous safe, about 7ft high, like something out of a Wild West film, with big metal handles," he said. "It was full of 30 years of stories that are confidential and did not pass the public interest test.

"They remained there in that safe, and what's in there is quite eye-popping, I have to say."

He joked that The Sun's "circulation figures would go upwards" if it were to publish everything in the safe.

O'Driscoll joined the paper full-time as assistant news editor in 2004 and left in January 2011 to become deputy news editor at the Daily Mail.

He is in the dock with The Sun's former managing editor Graham Dudman, 51, head of news Chris Pharo, 45, reporters John Troup, 49, and Jamie Pyatt, 51, and picture editor John Edwards, 50, who all face similar charges.

O'Driscoll said that the Sun carefully assessed stories involving "confidential" information and the editor would decide whether publication was in the public interest.

He described the Sun newsroom as "a cauldron", with little time to consider the decisions he was making.

"As well as emails and phone calls, there were angry editors and angry sub-editors, the pressure was building, and you also had a queue of reporters behind your desk waiting to speak to you," he said. "There was never a moment, it was speed of thought and you had to make decisions."

However, he denied that he had been informed by reporter Jamie Pyatt that he had paid sources who were public officials.

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