Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was formally charged with phone hacking today and will appear in court next month, Scotland Yard said.
Brooks, 44, answered bail at Lewisham police station tonight and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 3.
Six others journalists from the News of the World, including David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson, have been officially charged and will appear at the same court on August 16.
The seven stand accused of one general charge of alleged phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006 that could affect as many as 600 victims.
Brooks, of Churchill, Oxford, and Coulson face specific charges of illegally accessing the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
The other former NOTW staff who face court action are ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup.
In a statement issued last month, Brooks insisted she was innocent, adding: “The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting, not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations.”
Brooks is already facing three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, linked to the investigation into phone hacking.
She and five others, including her racehorse trainer husband Charlie, who faces one count of the same offence, are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court in London on September 26.