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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie named as phone-hacking victims

By Martin Hickman

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were named as phone-hacking victims yesterday, propelling the scandal on to Hollywood's A-list.

Nestling on the list of 23 newsworthy individuals – over and above the 600 as yet un-named victims – the highest-earning couple in the film business are said to have been targeted by two senior members of the NoW's staff: Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup. Thurlbeck was the paper's news editor under Rebekah Brooks, while Weatherup was headhunted from the newsdesk of the Sunday People by her successor Andy Coulson.

According to the charge sheet, between 5 July 2005 and 4 May 2006 Thurlbeck and Weatherup conspired to hack "the voicemail messages of persons associated with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who included Eunice Huthart."

Huthart is a former stunt double for Jolie, who made her name as the eponymous hero of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

The couple – nicknamed Brangelina – are said to have started their relationship on the set of the film Mr & Mrs Smith in 2005, the year the Crown Prosecution Service alleges they began to be targeted by the News of the World.

So far the US, where Rupert Murdoch has built up a considerable media empire, has paid little attention to the hacking scandal. A trial involving "Brangelina", which could revolve around details of their private lives, would change that.

Their naming as victims is also likely to be unwelcome to News Corp, which owned the defunct Sunday title. Its interests include the film studio 20th Century Fox – which distributed Mrs & Mrs Smith.

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