Yorkshire-RipperSun reporter Jamie Pyatt bought a medical assessment of the Yorkshire Ripper from a health worker at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, a court was told yesterday.

Mr Pyatt agreed at Kingston Crown Court that he had paid NHS assistant Robert Neave for the document about Peter Sutcliffe.

The Sun’s Thames Valley reporter, whose patch included Broadmoor, kept the photocopied document – which had been prepared by Sutcliffe’s consultant for High Court judges – for two days.

He wrote a story for The Sun headlined: ‘Ripper: Let me out, I’m better.’

Mr Pyatt, who denies conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, told the court that obtaining the document was in the public interest, because the Ripper was using public funds to campaign for his release.

Asked by prosecutor Peter Wright QC: “The document itself was confidential, wasn’t it?”, the 51-year-old journalist said: “It was a document that was going to the High Court.”

After Mr Pyatt gave an unclear answer to a suggestion that it was not going to be circulated to reporters in the courts, the judge Richard Marks intervened to ask: “You knew that what you were being given to was not in the public domain – do you accept that?”

Mr Pyatt replied: “Yes”

The reporter said of the document: “I took it home and I wrote a long memo and I sent it to the newsdesk,” confirming that he had sent the memo to two of his co-accused: news editor Chris Pharo and deputy news editor, Ben O’Driscoll.

Mr Wright asked: “Did either of them say this is not appropriate?

Mr Pyatt, who has worked for The Sun for 27 years, said: “I don’t recall having that conversation.”

He told the court: “We believed it was a legitimate public interest story.

He agreed with Mr Wright that patient confidentiality applied to all.

However he said that The Sun had taken the decision that patient confidentiality should not apply to patients at the high-security psychiatric hospital, telling the court: “The people we’re talking about in Broadmoor, we didn’t apply patient confidentiality to them in stories.”

Ending his cross-examination of Mr Pyatt, who was spending his fifth day in the witness box, Mr Wright pressed him: “The truth is, Mr Pyatt, over a period of time you corrupted others in public office, didn’t you?

Mr Pyatt replied: “No.

The prosecutor went on: “And you utterly corrupted yourself didn’t you?”

Again the reporter replied: “No.”

He, Mr Pharo, Mr O’Driscoll and three other Sun journalists deny conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.

This post originally appeared on the Hacked Off Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks