Former News of the World chief reporter arrested in phone-hacking scandal
By Lisa O’Carroll–
Operation Weeting officers re-arrest former NoW chief reporter, this time on suspicion of intimidation of a witness.
Neville Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter of the News of the World, has been arrested on suspicion of intimidation of a witness.
He was arrested by appointment at a central London police station at 4pm on Wednesday by officers working on the Operation Weeting investigation into phone hacking, and later bailed.
“A 51-year-old man was arrested by appointment at a central London police station at approximately 16:00 hrs today by officers from Operation Weeting, the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] inquiry into the phone-hacking of voicemails,” said Scotland Yard in a statement.
“He was arrested on suspicion of intimidation of a witness (contrary to Section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) and encouraging or assisting an offence (contrary to Section 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007).”
Last week, Thurlbeck posted the home address of an executive on Rupert Murdoch’s management standards committee in a blog post.
The address in his post included the street name but not the house number, it is understood, and was later removed. Thurlbeck said in a later blog that he “accepted … that printing the name of his street was distressing to his family and took this down immediately as I have absolutely no wish to do this”.
It is the second time Thurlbeck has been arrested as part of Operation Weeting.
In a statement the Metropolitan police said: “This is Operation Weeting arrest ‘A’. He was previously arrested on 5 April 2011 (then aged 50) on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications (contrary to Section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977) and unlawful interception of voicemail messages (contrary to Section 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)”.
The arrest comes a day after Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, and her husband Charlie Brooks were arrested and bailed on “suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice” in relation to the same police investigation.
Four others were arrested including the director of security at News International and two other non-editorial staff believed to have worked on contract for the Murdoch publishing group.