A former army officer testified yesterday that information about the Royal Princes published in The Sun was “very worrying” and led to a “stepping up of security”. Giving evidence in London’s Old Bailey Colonel Roy Parkinson a former staff officer at Sandhurst said that “attempted and successful intrusions” by the media when Prince William and Prince Harry were cadets led to “security having to be beefed up for everyone”.
Colonel Parkinson also said that he had asked the newspaper not to publish the name of a Sandhurst cadet as he came from Northern Ireland. The former Army officer continued “The Sun had been asked not to name him, but did so anyway, putting his security at risk”.
The testimony came during the third week of the trial of four Sun journalists and an army officer and his wife in connection with alleged payments made to public officials.
Earlier the jury heard from Alexander McKay, Prince William’s platoon commander at Sandhurst. The officer said that while Prince William was training at Sandhurst there were a number of instances of reporters “turning up at exercises” in which the Prince was taking part. For security reasons, McKay told the jury, a “sham” training schedule for William was put in the Academy’s computer system, which he said led to journalists appearing at the fake locations.
Asked about the impact of the stream of stories appearing in the daily tabloid, McKay said they had an “unsettling effect… if you don’t know where the information is coming from you start suspecting innocent people”.
However, defence barrister, Simon Csoka QC, challenged McKay’s evidence and suggested to the witness that as Sandhurst exercises happened at the same places and time every year any former cadet would know where and then they would be. He also told the jury that the brother of one of the defendants, Duncan Larcombe, had won the sword of honour at Sandhurst and like many others would know the timing of events.
On trial are John Kay, Claire Hardy, John Hardy, Duncan Larcombe, Fergus Shanahan and Geoffrey Webster.
All of the defendants deny all of the charges, the trial continues.