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Ex-News of the World journalist to head WSTA communications

Published:  15 July, 2015

A former News of the World journalist, who was acquitted of criminal charges of paying sources for information, has been appointed as the Wine & Spirit Trade Association's head of communications.

Lucy Panton was the newspaper's crime editor before its closure in 2011. She was arrested in December 2011 as part of the Operation Elveden investigation but was eventually cleared by the Court of Appeal in 2014. Her acquittal forced the collapse of cases against several other journalists charged as part of the operation.

Panton will now be handling the WSTA's media relations, working with its public affairs team, on campaigns and with the membership to highlight the economic and cultural importance of the industry.

"I can't wait to get stuck in," said Panton. "The last four years following the closure of the News of the World and my subsequent arrest and trial were tough, but the experience has made me a more resilient and determined person.

"Having been cleared by the Court of Appeal, I am looking forward to getting on with my life and re-establishing myself in the working world

"I have a lot to learn about the industry, but I know the skills gained through my journalistic career will stand me in good stead to help the WSTA and its members go from strength to strength.

"After over 15 years working in Fleet Street it is great to be taking up a new challenge. The job with WSTA will keep me in touch with the media world and all its interesting characters, as well as give me the opportunity to learn about the fascinating wine and spirit industry."

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "As the WSTA looks to continue to put the case to government for a fairer tax regime and support the industry to grow and create jobs, I know that Lucy's experience will be vital in helping us to do that."

Panton worked for the News of the World from 2002 to 2011 and before that was a crime reporter with the Sunday People.