Preston police worker and her pal admits charge over accessing police data

Crown Court
Crown Court

A police worker and her friend who obtained unauthorised information by searching Lancashire Constabulary's computer systems have been given suspended jail terms.

Jacqueline Wilson, 51, of Maritime Way, Ashton-On-Ribble, Preston, pleaded guilty to causing a computer to perform function to secure or enable unauthorised access to a program or data.

Her co-defendant, her long term friend Jacqueline Goosey, 52, of Stratford Drive, Fulwood, Preston, also admits the same offence.

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Preston Crown Court heard the two women have been friends for more than 15 years and had worked in the prison service together.

In April 2017, Goosey asked the public enquiry assistant to obtain information about a case involving her nephew who had been arrested.

Wilson ignored the 'warning' window that is displayed when searching the police's log.

Over the next 14 months Goosey asked her on several other occasions to look into cases or investigations involving her relatives, and one one occasion even rang her from Spain.

Prosecutors said there were 12 incidents.

The searches started in April 2017, when Goosey's nephew was arrested for a breach of bail.

In May 2017, another nephew was reported missing - phone evidence shows contact between the two women before information was accessed.

Searches were also performed in relation to the arrest of another nephew.

In one text message, Wilson says: "I'm back at 7. It's a bit difficult to look, I'm always putting his name in."

The nephew was arrested again later that day and further searches were performed.

In June and August 2017, one of Goosey's nephews was reported for damaging someone's i-Phone.

She contacted Wilson from Spain and then called her for 40 minutes.

The behaviour continued in October 2017, when Goosey's son was arrested for drug driving and she asked her friend to check what was going on.

Between October and November 2017, Goosey's nephew was on the run but she didn't know what for, and asked Wilson for further checks.

A probe was launched and the two women's mobile phones were seized, which showed messages and exchanges that were linked to Goosey's requests.

In an interview, Goosey accepted involvement and said: " I just feel so bad I've asked for this stuff and got her in trouble.

"She's my friend, she knows everything about me. To me they were just little questions."

Wilson gave a "full and frank" admission.

Defending Wilson, Rachel Woods said there is a "relevant distinction" between a serving officer and a civilian counter desk clerk who has limited training and access to sensitive policing matters.

She pointed out it is not a case where Wilson was ringing her friend and tipping her off about her relatives and added: "She thought she was simply helping a friend.

"She is thoroughly ashamed and disgusted with herself.

"She would not allow any of her family or her long term partner to be here to support her because she is so ashamed of her actions and does not want them to be associated."

Goosey's defence lawyer said: "This is a lady who has a rather troubled family, despite that she herself has never been in trouble until this point."

She said Goosey felt a need to protect her family and had not intended to affect any police investigation.

Judge Andrew Woolman said: "On those 12 occasions you, Wilson, provided information when you could find it and reported if you couldn't find it you ignored the warning noticed however it's clear no prosecution or inquiry was actually affected by the dissemination of information.

"No money changed hands, there was no gain to either of you, and in all cases you, Wilson, left a trail of your activities and so it is rightly described as unsophisticated.

"There is no doubt these offences cross the custody threshold because of the risk of damage to the integrity of police systems, and because data can be released into the public domain.

"The only issue I've got to decide is whether it's proper to suspend it. You are both 52, neither has previous convictions, both of you are hard working."

Jacqueline Wilson was given a six month jail term, suspended for two years.

Jacqueline Goosey was given eight months, suspended for two years.

Wilson must pay £85 costs, while Goosey must pay £1,000 costs.

Both must do 150 hours of unpaid work.