The Pope’s butler arrested following Vatileaks investigation

Vatican police have arrested Pope Benedict XVI’s personal butler following an investigation into the leaking of sensitive church documents.

Vatican police have arrested Pope Benedict XVI's personal butler following an investigation into the leaking of sensitive church documents.

Mr Gabriele, who has been at the Pope’s side for six years, is one of the German born pontiff’s closest members of his inner circle which totals just four lay people and four nuns and he is always at his side Photo: AFP

The butler, identified as Paolo Gabriele, 40, was held by gendarmes after a special commission of three top senior cardinals had been appointed by the Pope to identify the source of the leaks which have caused severe embarrassment.

Mr Gabriele, who has been at the Pope’s side for six years, is one of the German born pontiff’s closest members of his inner circle which totals just four lay people and four nuns and he is always at his side.

It is believed that Mr Gabriele, who is known by the nickname Paoletto (little Paul) was held as he arrived for work at the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace behind St Peter’s and on Friday he was being held in custody – the first time in years the Vatican jail had been used.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said a man had been detained with “documents in his possession” adding that he was not supposed to have them and he went on to describe him as “a lay person and not a member of the clergy”.

The arrest comes a month after Pope Benedict appointed a special commission to investigate the series of damning and embarrassing leaks of sensitive Catholic Church documents from the Vatican as it still tries to recover from the priest sex abuse scandal.

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