Hackgate In Brief

If you haven’t heard about the News Of The World phone hacking scandal, you must have been living under a rock for the past month. Every day, more revelations, allegations and opinions are published surrounding the saga. However, If this tidal wave of news has left you unable to keep up, then that’s perfectly understandable!


Here is a concise timeline of events that will allow you to get to grips with the main figures and key events in what has been the biggest media circus in years. Interestingly, events began to unfold in 2006…

8 August – News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are arrested for hacking the phones of royal aides.

26 JanuaryMulcaire and Goodman are jailed for six and four months respectively. Editor Andy Coulson resigns, taking “ultimate responsibility”.
31 MayDavid Cameron makes Coulson the Conservatives’ director of communications and planning.

21 July –  Coulson tells MPs that things went “badly wrong” under his editorship.

1 September – The New York Times publishes an interview with former NOTW reporter Sean Hoare, including allegations that Coulson was aware of his staff illegally hacking phones and even “actively encouraged” it.
JuneDavid Cameron, now Prime Minister, attends The Sun Police Bravery Awards ceremony and dinner, meeting both Dominic Mohan (editor of The Sun) and Colin Myler (editor of the NOTW) for a general discussion.

21 JanuaryCoulson resigns from Downing Street.
26 January – Scotland Yard reopens inquiry. Assistant news editor at NOTW, Ian Edmondson, is sacked over claims of phone hacking in 2005 – 2006.
5 – 14 AprilEdmondson is arrested, as are reporter Neville Thurlbeck and senior NOTW journalist James Weatherup.
20 June – News International submits rediscovered emails relating to the phone hacking scandal and new allegations that NOTW executives authorised corrupt payments to police.
4 July – Claims emerge that investigators working for NOTW hacked the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, deleting voicemail messages to make room for new ones.
5 July – Following the Dowler revelations, News International CEO Rebekah Brooks says she is “appalled and shocked”. David Cameron says it is a “truly dreadful act”.
6 JulyRupert Murdoch backs Brooks, but describes the allegations as “deplorable and unacceptable. Relatives of soldiers killed in action are revealed to be possible hacking victims. Cameron announces a public inquiry.
7 JulyJames Murdoch announces that NOTW will close.
10 JulyRupert Murdoch flies into London to handle the crisis.
12 July – Five of the Met’s most senior officers give evidence to MPs to defend their failed investigation.
13 July – News Corporation drops bid to take full ownership of BSkyB
14 July – Former NOTW deputy editor Neil Wallis is arrested. He had been used by Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson as PR consultant.
15 JulyRebekah Brooks resigns.
17 JulyRebekah Brooks is arrested. Sir Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, resigns.
18 July – “Whistle-blower” Sean Hoare, the former NOTW showbiz reporter, is found dead at his home. Police say they are not treating his death as suspicious.
19 July – The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee holds a hearing with former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, James and Rupert Murdoch and former News International executive Rebekah Brooks. All are asked about their knowledge of phone hacking, police payments, use of private detectives and the withholding of potentially damaging information from senior officials and police. During the hearing, Rupert Murdoch is attacked with a “custard pie”.

We hope this summary clarifies things a little!

A decent in-depth timeline, complete with links to the relevant news story for each event, can also be found at The Daily Telegraph’s website.

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