Prosecutors on Tuesday charged David Cameron’s former spokesman Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks with phone-hacking.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it was charging a total of eight people in relation to the scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, while it was taking no further action against five others.
The eight will face charges of conspiring to unlawfully intercept the voice-mail messages of some 600 people, who included Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jude Law as well as politicians and crime victims.
Prosecutors said the other targets included England footballer Wayne Rooney and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
Others facing charges include Stuart Kuttner, the News of the World’s former managing editor, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmonson, former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and reporter James Weatherup.
Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed for phone-hacking for six months in 2007, also faces fresh charges.
Australian-born media tycoon Murdoch, 81, was forced to close the News of the World last July amid a storm of revelations that its staff hacked into the voice-mail messages of a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, and a slew of public figures.
Coulson edited the News of the World from 2003 to 2007 and went on to become Cameron’s spokesman, but resigned in January 2011 after he was questioned over the scandal. He was arrested last year.
Brooks was editor of the tabloid from 2000 to 2003 and went on to edit The Sun, Murdoch’s top-selling British tabloid, before going on to become chief executive of News International, Murdoch’s British newspaper group.
[Rebekah Brooks image via Agence France-Presse]