Broadmoor nurse sold stories on killer inmates to newspapers
Published 26/05/2015 | 14:32
A nurse at Broadmoor high security hospital has admitted selling stories about some of Britain's most notorious killers to the News Of The World and Mirror newspapers.
Kenneth Hall, 49, sold a string of stories to the tabloids, including tales about Robert Ashman, who attacked an MP and killed his assistant with a samurai sword.
Andrew Pennington died after he was stabbed six times as he tried to protect Liberal Democrat Nigel Jones in his constituency office in January 2000.
Hall also sold stories about killers suing the NHS, and forged documents to beef up his tales, London's Old Bailey heard.
Hall, who was a mental health nurse at the hospital which houses some of Britain's most dangerous serial killers, pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office between June 29 2002 and October 6 2004.
He also pleaded guilty to forgery.
His wife Karen, who was also a nurse at Broadmoor, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the commissioning of the offence by allowing money she knew her husband was getting by selling stories to go into her account although the mother-of-three did not sell any stories or disclose any confidential information herself.
She wept as she was handed a five month jail sentence suspended for one year by judge Timothy Pontius.
Her husband will be sentenced next month.
The Old Bailey heard how Hall first sold stories to a freelance reporter who often worked for the News Of The World called Anna Gekoski.
He later also made contact with a reporter at the Mirror.
He used his privileged position as a nurse to disclose confidential information to newspapers, making thousands of pounds for himself.
Prosecutor Stuart Biggs said Hall "was both providing care and treatment to patients with mental health illnesses and personality disorders" when he sold the stories.
He added: "And so he had responsibilities in respect of the risk they posed to each other, themselves and the community.
"He struck up contacts in the first instance it seems with a freelance journalist who was paid regularly by News International and the News of the World Newspaper in particular - Anna Gekoski.
"She provided the conduit for him to provide stories to the News Of The World and also titles in the Mirror group.
"He later struck up contact directly with Mirror journalists."
One story about Ashman read Samurai Nut Could Be Free In 18 Months and was written by Ms Gekoski, the court was told.
Mr Biggs said investigators found emails between Ms Gekoski and Hall dating to September 19 2003 with the subject heading Ashman.
Attached were documents forged by Hall claiming to be patient notes relating to Ashman, and some genuine notes.
In the email Hall wrote: "Hope it goes in as a lot of work went into getting copies of those."
Mr Biggs said Hall confessed to forging documents when he could not smuggle the originals out of the hospital.
But the prosecutor said: "Many of the contents are fabricated. There is sometimes some truth, and sometimes there is more truth, but there is at least exaggeration.
"In this case it's a complete fabrication."
But he said Hall also smuggled out genuine documents relating to Ashman.
He said: "In two different ways the public official abused his position.
"He had the credibility of the newspaper to create false documents, and he, on the rare occasions he was able, took out of the hospital a true document, with obvious sensitive and confidential information."
Another story had the headline Sex Killer Sues NHS For £3 Million.
The story went on: "Monster who attacked girl of 12 wants cash because Broadmoor inmates attacked him."
Mr Biggs said: "It relates to a patient at Broadmoor. At the bottom of the page it says: 'A Broadmoor source told us "The hospital does not want this case to go to court so they will settle for an undisclosed amount.
"'He has an enormous team of lawyers working on it. Once again he'll get a huge sum of money from manipulating the system'."
"We say those are direct quotes in the story supplied by Mr Hall."
The Halls live together in Fairfax Road, Bridgwater, Somerset with their three children, aged seven, 11 and 12.
Sentencing Mrs Hall, who suffers from poor mental health and walks with a stick, the judge said it was a "tragedy" to see her in court.
But said that by knowing her husband was profiting by selling stories about Broadmoor she had encouraged the offending.
And he told her husband a prison sentence "must be uppermost in the court's mind".
Hall was bailed to return to the Old Bailey for sentencing on June 26.