October 24, 2020

Three Ex-Murdoch journalists plead guilty to phone hacking


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Hearings revealed that Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Greg Miskiw admitted to conspiracy to intercept communications

Three former senior journalists from Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid the News of the World have pleaded guilty to charges relating to phone-hacking, the trial of two of the media mogul’s former editors heard on Wednesday.

Rebekah Brooks, Murdoch’s former British newspaper chief and Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media head Andy Coulson are on trial at London’s Old Bailey court accused of conspiring to illegally access voicemail messages on mobile phones, charges they deny.

The court was told on Wednesday that ex-chief correspondent Neville Thurlbeck, former assistant news editor James Weatherup, and ex-news editor Greg Miskiw had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to intercept communications at earlier hearings.

Their guilty pleas, which had not previously been reportable, are the first public admissions by former News of the World journalists since police launched an inquiry in 2011 into allegations that staff on the Murdoch paper had hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians and victims of crime.

PHOTO: Getty Images

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Related story:

News Corp Phone Hacking Scandal: A Timeline Refresher for the Trial

From The Wrap

How the scandal that almost brought down Rupert Murdoch unfolded

The trial of former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and seven others charged with hacking phones and bribing officials began on Monday, kicking off what is expected to be a six-month trial with more than 100 witnesses.

Here’s a look back at how the phone hacking scandal, which resulted in several arrests, the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World newspaper, and split Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation into two companies, developed:

Also read: Phone-Hacking Trial Begins for News of the World’s Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, Others

2007: NotW royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are jailed for hacking into phones of members of the royal family. NotW editor Andy Coulson resigns, though denies any knowledge of hacking. Four months later, he resurfaces as the director of communications for Conservative party leader David Cameron. Investigations reveal no evidence that anyone beyond Goodman and Mulcaire were involved in phone hacking or that any editors had knowledge of their activities.

July 2009: Guardian reveals that News Corporation paid over $1.5 million to settle legal cases related to phone hacking before they could hit the courts. Crown Prosecution Service announces a renewed investigation into NotW phone hacking.


January: NotW assistant editor Ian Edmondson is suspended. Andy Coulson resigns as director of communications for Cameron, who is now prime minister.

April: Edmondson and NotW reporters Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup are arrested. NotW officially apologizes for hacking into phones and promises to compensate victims.

July 4: Guardian reports that the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a British teenage who was found murdered in 2002, was hacked into by NotW reporters. Rebekah Brooks, now News International CEO, was editor of NotW at the time. Outrage against the publication mounts.

July 7: James Murdoch announces that NotW will stop printing after 168 years. Its final issue comes out July 10.

July 8: Coulson and Goodman are arrested.

July 13: News International withdraws its bid to purchase BSkyB, a British satellite broadcasting service, due to the scandal. The purchase would have made News International the largest media company in Britain.

July 14: NotW executive editor Neil Wallis is arrested.

July 15: Brooks resigns from News International. Les Hinton resigns as head of Dow Jones and publisher of News Corp.

July 17: Brooks is arrested.

July 19: Brooks, James and Rupert Murdoch appear in front of Parliament to be questioned over their role in the scandal. They deny any knowledge.

August: NotW managing editor Stuart Kuttner, editor Greg Miskiw, US editor James Desborough, reporter Dan Evans arrested.

September: NotW reporter Ross Hall and editor Raoul Simons arrested.

November 4: Jamie Pyatt, reporter for another of Murdoch’s papers, the Sun, is arrested for bribing police officers.

November 14: Leveson Inquiry into press ethics begins. Hugh Grant and Piers Morgan are among the many to testify; Grant to accuse the Mail on Sunday of hacking into his phone and Morgan to deny any knowledge that the Mirror, of which he was editor from 1995 to 2004, hacked into phones.


Throughout the year: Several Sun journalists arrested for bribing public officials.

January 6: Cheryl Carter, Brooks’ personal assistant, is arrested.

March 13: Brooks is arrested again, along with her husband, Charlie, and Mark Hanna, director of security at News International, for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

May 15: Brooks, her husband, Carter, her chauffeur Paul Edwards, Hanna and Daryl Jorsling, a security consultant for News International are formally charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice for trying to hide evidence from police officers in July 2011.

July 24: Brooks, Coulson, Edmondson, Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Mulaire, Thurlbeck and Weatherup are charged with phone hacking.

August 29: former NotW Scotland editor Bob Bird is arrested.

August 30: Tom Crone, legal advisor to News International, is arrested for phone hacking.

October 2: NotW journalist Alex Marunchak is arrested.


June 5: Brooks pleads not guilty to all charges against her.

October 28: Trial against Brooks, her husband, Carter, Coulson, Edmondson, Goodman, Hanna and Kuttner begins.

October 30: Hearings reveal that Miskiw, Thurlbeck and Weatherup plead guilty to phone hacking at an unknown date prior to the trial.

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