18/06/2015 08:32 BST | Updated 18/06/2015 08:59 BST

News Of The World Journalist Lucy Panton Accuses Police Of 'Sexist' Questioning

A former News Of The World journalist has decried "sexist" police officers for asking whether she had sex with contacts as part of her job.

Lucy Panton, the tabloid’s former crime editor, said she was asked the questions by investigators after being arrested.

She was the first journalist to be found guilty of paying a public official for stories following an Old Bailey trial last year.

But after the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders conducted a root and branch review, leading to the decision to scrap the up-coming trials of nine out of 12 journalists - including Panton's second trial - for obtaining information from public officials, part of the controversial Operation Elveden.

Lucy Panton described the police's line of questioning as 'sexist'

In an interview with Press Gazette,, Panton described the moment her house was first raided by police - and the questioning which followed.

She said that she was shocked to be asked again and again if she had slept with police officers.

She said: “When being grilled about which police officers I knew and who I had spoken to I was asked repeatedly: 'What was your relationship with them? Was is professional, was it personal, was it sexual?'

“As a married mum of two I found this highly offensive. It makes my blood boil still now. It was I think a purely provocative line of questioning to get a reaction out of me.


“I don't believe any of my male colleagues who were quizzed about their relationships with police were asked whether they were sleeping with them.

“I was astounded at their sexist, out-of-date attitude. Were they seriously suggesting a woman could not do her job without sleeping around? I had to pinch myself that I wasn't in an episode of the Sweeney."

The Met declined to comment.

By the time Panton’s conviction was overturned in April she had already served 148 hours of community service and had worn an electronic tag to enforce a curfew for three months.

After her conviction was quashed her conviction, Panton spoke of her "hellish four year ordeal”, which also saw News UK refuse to pay her legal costs.

The News Of The World closed following the scandal which engulfed it

She said: "I was jobless, isolated and unable to pay my legal fees. After 19 months on bail and four intrusive police interviews I was finally charged.

"As the only journalist arrested by Operation Elveden who was not having their legal bills paid by a media organisation I was left to fend for myself.

"So I cannot describe the overwhelming relief felt by me and my family when Fleet Street and beyond came to my aid. In just three days enough money was raised to pay the massive outstanding legal bills I was facing."

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