Murdoch 'panicked' at News of the World closure

Rupert Murdoch “panicked” when he took the decision to close the News of the World, he told the Leveson Inquiry today.

Murdoch 'panicked' at News of the World closure

Rupert Murdoch “panicked” when he took the decision to close the News of the World, he told the Leveson Inquiry today.

He said the “whole business” of the now-defunct tabloid had been a “serious blot” on his reputation and told the inquiry into press standards he wished he had closed it years earlier.

The media mogul said: “When the Milly Dowler situation was first given huge publicity – I think all the newspapers took this as a chance to really make a really national scandal – it made people all over the country aware of this, who had not been following.

“You could feel the blast coming in the window almost.

“And I would say it succinctly, I panicked. But I am glad I did.”

He said the decision was taken “very quickly” by him, his son James Murdoch, and former editor and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

“It was a decision taken very quickly by my son, I think Mrs Brooks was still there, and myself.

“It was done, like that.”

He added: “I am sorry I didn’t close it years before and put a Sunday Sun in,” but said he held back because of its readers.

“Only half of them ever read The Sun,” he added. “In fact only a quarter of them read it regularly. So that probably was brought into consideration at the time.”

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox