Prison guard from Bury St Edmunds admits selling George Michael stories to The Sun

Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

A former prison guard from Bury St Edmunds who sold stories to The Sun about pop star George Michael’s time behind bars is facing jail.

Amanda Watts, 43, leaked five stories on the former Wham star to the tabloid while she was employed at HMP Highpoint, in Stradishall.

She was secretly in contact with journalists between September 16 to November 1, 2010, and received £2,000 in cash for her information.

Mr Michael was jailed for eight weeks in 2010 after he crashed his car into a branch of Snappy Snaps while high on cannabis.

Watts appeared at the Old Bailey this morning to admit one count of misconduct in public office.

Wearing a black shirt and trousers, with sunglasses perched on top of her head, Watts spoke to confirm her name before entering a single guilty plea.

“This is, put simply, a case involving a person who received just over £2,000 in cash from The Sun for information leading to the publication of five stories about the popstar George Michael during his time at HMP Highpoint in the autumn of 2010,” said prosecutor Jacob Hallam.

“It is a month long period of providing information.”

Watts is the latest public official to admit wrongdoing, having been exposed by the Met’s Operation Elveden probe into alleged press corruption.

Stephen Dyble, in mitigation, told the court Watts is a woman of good character, adding: “Clearly she is aware of the enormity of the offence she has just admitted.”

Judge John Bevan QC said: “She has obviously done herself a favour by pleading guilty at the first opportunity.”

He adjourned sentencing until a hearing on October 16.