Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

NotW editors 'aware of hacking'

Former News of the World deputy features editor Paul McMullan arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry
Guardian journalist Nick Davies arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in central London
Former Daily Star journalist Richard Peppiatt arrives at the High Court

News of the World journalists hacked phones for their former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, one of the paper's ex-reporters has told the Leveson Inquiry.

Paul McMullan, who worked for the now-defunct Sunday tabloid for seven years, said editors were aware their staff were illegally accessing voicemail messages but threw them "to the wolves" by denying all knowledge of it.

He alleged in his evidence to the press standards inquiry that Mr Coulson brought the practice of phone hacking to the NotW with him from The Sun, where he was editor of the Bizarre showbusiness section.

He went on to describe Mrs Brooks as the "the criminal-in-chief", alleging that she "moulded" David Cameron before he became Prime Minister.

Mr McMullan, who was the NotW's deputy features editor, launched a scathing attack on both former editors.

"We did all these things for our editors, for Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson," he told the inquiry.

"They should have had the strength of their conviction to say, 'I know, yes sometimes you have to enter into a grey area or enter a black illegal area for the good of our readers, for the public good, and yes we asked our reporters to do these things'.

"But instead they turned around on us and said, 'oh, we didn't know they were doing it, oh heavens, it was all just Clive Goodman and later it was just a few others'.

"They should have been the heroes of journalism, but they aren't, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, they are the scum of journalism for trying to drop me and my colleagues in it."

Goodman, the News of the World's former royal editor, was jailed along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in January 2007 after they admitted intercepting voicemail messages left on phones belonging to royal aides.

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