LONDON (AP) - A top counterterrorism detective was found guilty Thursday of trying to sell information to a Rupert Murdoch tabloid, becoming the first person to be convicted on charges related to Britain's phone-hacking scandal since a police investigation was reopened in early 2011.
Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn was charged with misconduct for phoning the News of the World and offering to pass on information about whether London's police force would reopen its stalled phone-hacking investigation.
Prosecutors said the tabloid did not print a story based on her call and no money changed hands. However, they said, she had committed a "gross breach" of the public trust by offering to sell the information.
Casburn, 53, also was accused of trying to ruin the inquiry - which centered on journalists at the now-defunct News of the World - by leaking information to the press.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that selling confidential information to journalists for personal gain would not be tolerated. The statement said the detective had "abused" her police position.
"Casburn proactively approached the News of the World, the very newspaper being investigated, to make money," the police statement said. "She betrayed the service and let down her colleagues."
The statement said vital information on the Casburn case was given to police by the Management and Standards Committee at Murdoch's News Corp.
Casburn, who managed the Metropolitan Police terrorist financing investigation unit, had admitted contacting the newspaper but denied that she offered confidential information or sought payment.
Jurors at Southwark Crown Court found her guilty of one count of misconduct. She will be sentenced later this month.
The long-running phone-hacking scandal has led to dozens of arrests and to criminal charges against prominent journalists, including Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications chief.
It has involved allegations of illegal snooping on celebrities, crime victims, politicians and others. Media mogul Murdoch closed the News of the World tabloid in July 2011 after many of its misdeeds were exposed.
Tim Wood, the News of the World news editor who took Casburn's call, told the court she expressed concern that counterterrorism resources were being diverted to the phone-hacking investigation.
Wood also said Casburn complained of interference from former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, a prominent hacking victim and vocal Murdoch critic.
"The one thing that stands out in my mind is the fact that she kept going on about Lord Prescott," Wood said. "Her saying that he was pressing for them to put charges on the News of the World, and she was saying that she felt it was wrong that he was interfering in the scandal, so to speak, and she resented that."
A News of the World reporter and a private investigator were jailed in 2007 for hacking into the voicemails of royal aides. But the newspaper denied there was a wider problem, and a police investigation did not lead to further charges.
Police reopened the investigation in early 2011 as new evidence emerged about the scale of the law-breaking.