Plymouth sailor jailed for offering N-sub secrets to 'Russian agents'
A PLYMOUTH-based Royal Navy petty officer has been jailed for eight years for trying to pass Britain's nuclear submarine secrets to MI5 officers he believed to be Russian spies.
Edward Devenney, 30, was told he had betrayed his country and his colleagues.
Mr Justice Saunders, sentencing him at the Old Bailey, said Devenney knew what he was doing when he met the two men in January.
He added: "He did supply details of movements and operations carried out and to be carried out by nuclear submarines.
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"I am satisfied that in the wrong hands it was capable of affecting the operational effectiveness of nuclear submarines. This is a very serious case. The defendant was prepared to betray his country and his colleagues."
Devenney, from Northern Ireland, had suffered as a result of a rape allegation of which he was later cleared. But by January this year, when he met the men in London, he was a "controlled and rational man", the court was told.
No damage had actually been done to national security because the Russians were in fact MI5 intelligence officers, but Devenney had not known that at the time. Devenney pleaded guilty to breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering classified information and misconduct by meeting the supposed spies.
Outside court, solicitor Richard Cannon read a statement on behalf of Devenney which said: "I am deeply sorry for the hurt and shame that I have brought on my family and loved ones.
"Prior to these events I gave the Royal Navy 11-and-a-half years of service and I deeply regret my actions and the effect they have had on the Submarine Service and colleagues."
Mari Reid, unit head for the CPS counter-terrorism division, said: "This was a classic story of betrayal. Edward Devenney was employed by the Royal Navy to protect this country from potential threats to our security. Instead, he pursued a course of conduct likely to put his country at risk.
"We rely on the men and women of our armed forces to keep us safe. It is hard to imagine a greater breach of that role than Devenney's actions."
Devenney was arrested in Plymouth in March and taken to a local police station.
The charges relate to "crypto material" used to encrypt secret information and information linked to the operation of HMS Trafalgar and two nuclear submarines.
Devenney admitted collecting information for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state between November 18 last year and March 7 this year.