Key events in the NOTW phone-hacking scandal

A scandal uncovered five years ago today resulted in the demise of Britain’s best-selling newspaper after 168 years.

A scandal uncovered five years ago today resulted in the demise of Britain’s best-selling newspaper after 168 years.

Here are the key developments in the News of the World phone-hacking story:


:: August 8 – Detectives arrest the News of the World’s royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire over allegations that they hacked into the mobile phones of members of the royal household.


:: January 26 – Goodman is jailed for four months and Mulcaire for six months after they admit intercepting voicemail messages on royal aides’ phones, including some left by Prince William.

News of the World editor Andy Coulson resigns, saying he “deeply regrets” what happened and takes “ultimate responsibility” for it.

:: May 18 – The Press Complaints Commission says in a report that it is satisfied no-one else at the News of the World knew Goodman and Mulcaire were tapping phone messages. The report is later withdrawn.

:: May 31 – Then-opposition leader David Cameron announces that Mr Coulson has been appointed as the Conservative Party’s director of communications and planning.


:: July 9 – The Guardian newspaper claims that News Group Newspapers, which publishes the News of the World, has paid out more than £1 million to settle cases which threatened to reveal evidence of its journalists’ alleged involvement in phone-hacking.

Scotland Yard says it will not be carrying out a new investigation into the allegations, but the Crown Prosecution Service announces a review of material provided by the police in 2006.

:: July 21 – Mr Coulson tells MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that things went “badly wrong” under his editorship of the News of the World, but insists he knew nothing about alleged phone-hacking.

:: November 9 – The Press Complaints Commission says in a second report that it has seen no new evidence to suggest anyone at the News of the World other than Goodman and Mulcaire hacked phone messages, or that the paper’s executives knew what the pair were doing.


:: February 24 – A Culture, Media and Sport Committee report finds no evidence that Mr Coulson knew phone-hacking was taking place at the News of the World, but says it is “inconceivable” that no-one apart from Goodman was aware of it.

:: May 11 – Mr Coulson becomes head of the new coalition Government’s media operation after Mr Cameron enters 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister.

:: September 5 – The New York Times publishes a long article which claims Mr Coulson knew his staff were carrying out illegal phone hacking. The story also raises questions about how vigorously Scotland Yard pursued the case.


:: January 21 – Mr Coulson announces he is standing down as Downing Street communications chief, saying the drip-drip of claims about illegal eavesdropping under his editorship was making his job impossible.

:: January 26 – Scotland Yard launches a fresh inquiry – Operation Weeting - into the phone-hacking controversy after receiving “significant new information” from the News of the World’s publisher, News International.

Meanwhile, the paper sacks its assistant editor (news), Ian Edmondson, after he is linked to the scandal in documents relating to legal action by actress Sienna Miller lodged at the High Court.

:: April 5 – Scotland Yard detectives arrest Edmondson and the News of the World’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages. They are later bailed.

:: April 8 – News International admits liability and apologises “unreservedly” to a number of public figures.

:: April 14 – Senior reporter James Weatherup becomes the third journalist associated with the Sunday tabloid to be questioned by detectives as part of the new probe.

:: June 21 – Football pundit Andy Gray accepts £20,000 in damages after his voicemail was intercepted by the News of the World. The newspaper reached a similar agreement with actress Sienna Miller, who was paid £100,000.

:: July 4 – Claims emerge that the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked after she had gone missing. Her family’s solicitor Mark Lewis said it offered her parents Bob and Sally false hope that she was still alive.

:: July 5 – News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks says she is “appalled and shocked” that the teenager’s phone was hacked, while the Prime Minister calls it a “truly dreadful act”.

:: July 6 – David Cameron announces a public inquiry into the scandal.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch describes the phone hacking allegations as “deplorable and unacceptable” but backs Rebekah Brooks to continue as chief executive.

Reports emerge that relatives of soldiers killed in action may have been victims of phone hacking.

:: July 7 – The Royal British Legion drops the News of the World as its campaigning partner and expresses “revulsion” at the latest phone hacking revelations as more and more advertisers pull campaigns from the title.

News International chairman James Murdoch tells staff this Sunday’s issue of the News of the World will be the last edition of the paper.

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