Saturday, 4 October 2014

Phone hacking: News of the World’s Ian Edmondson pleads guilty

The News of the World's Ian Edmondson has admitted he was involved in phone hacking
The News of the World’s Ian Edmondson has admitted he was involved in phone hacking. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Features
A former News of the World news executive has admitted he was involved in phone hacking, 16 months after pleading not guilty to the crime in the Old Bailey.
Ian Edmondson’s about-turn marks the final chapter in the phone-hacking trial that ended in June with the conviction of Andy Coulson and the acquittal of Rebekah Brooks, both former New of the World editors.
Edmondson, 45, spoke only to confirm his name and to say “guilty” when asked to formally enter his plea.
He was charged with conspiring to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006 together with the paper’s former editor Andy Coulson and with hacker Glen Mulcaire, the paper’s former royal editor Clive Goodman, its former newsdesk executives Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup, the paper’s former feature writer Dan Evans, and other persons known and unknown.
Edmondson was one of the original eight defendants at the Old Bailey trial but, for health reasons, was deemed “unfit” to continue on the 29th day of proceedings. He was deemed fit to stand trial in July.
Before he was released from trial, the jury heard how he was one of four news editors for whom convicted hacker Mulcaire worked.
Edmondson, who is now facing the possibility of jail, was bailed and will be sentenced at a date in November.
Edmondson’s barrister Sallie Bennet-Jenkins QC told the court that Mulcaire had frequently “bragged” about hacking and Edmondson was aware that this was one of the tools of his trade when tasking him.
She added, however, that Edmondson had been acting “under direct instructions by senior executives to use Mulcaire”.
Mark Bryant Heron QC, for the prosecution, told the court that Edmondson was not the most prolific tasker of Mulcaire during the six-year phone hacking conspiracy at the paper.
At one stage he even wanted to sack him, telling his bosses that the £2,019 a week for “special investigations” being paid to Mulcaire’s Nine Consultancy “had to stop”.
But, said the prosecutor, once Mulcaire’s previous handler Miskiw – also a former news editor – left the paper, Edmondson became a “frequent” tasker of the private investigator.
Between July 2005 and August 2006 records showed there were 800 callsand texts, or 90 a month Bryant Heron said.
The court also heard for the first time of a tape recording of a conversation between Edmondson and a News of the World colleague. The tape was undated but from its contents it was evidence the conversation took place following the arrest of the royal editor Clive Goodman in 2006 on suspicion of phone hacking.
The colleague said: “But you know what the vital difference is you haven’t done anything yourself or from your number. That is not what Clive’s caught on, he’s fucking done it himself ...”
Edmondson replied: “ Yeah – I’ve done it myself ...”
The prosecution said that Edmondson’s name was on 334 of the 8,000 notes seized from Mulcaire’s premises linking him to the hacking of celebrities, politicians and sportspeople.
In addition to Lord Prescott, former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, and Lord Freddie Windsor, targets linked to Edmondson’s instructions to Mulcaire included Sienna Miller, her friend Archie Keswick and her former boyfriend Jude Law, and George Best’s son Callum Best, the court heard.
He also employed Mulcaire to investigate Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills in May 2006.
The NoW published nine articles about the couple between over one month, said Bryant Heron. “Ian Edmondson wished, unsurprisingly, to get information on the marital break-up. He employed Mulcaire to do so.”
He told the court: “There was an aggressive newsgathering culture. The end justified the means to get results, to get the story, in an extremely competitive market.”
Edmondson worked for the paper in the 1990s, and then rejoined the tabloid’s news desk in 2004, becoming news editor in 2005, a position he held until he was suspended in December 2010 and subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2011.
He was in charge when Mulcaire and the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman were arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of hacking.
His suspension four years later came after three emails implicating him in Mulcaire’s hacking came to light. These suggested that hacking was not confined to Goodman, who the company had claimed was operating as a single “rogue reporter” and led to the launch of Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking investigation in January 2011.
They contained the mobile and pin numbers for Joan Hammell, a special adviser to Lord Prescott, former culture secretary Tessa Jowell and royal Freddie Windsor.
The jury heard that during Edmondson’s reign on the news desk the paper also hacking rival journalists on the Mail on Sunday in an attempt to discover what they knew about Prescott’s affair with his diary secretary Tracey Temple in a “dog-eat-dog” fight for stories.
After the paper hacked Temple and her ex-husband and got nowhere, the prosecution said that Edmondson then got hold of Hammell’s number and passed it to Mulcaire. Mulcaire went on to get her pin and listened to 45 messages. He then emailed Edmondson telling him: “This is how you can hack the phone so that you too can hear them”, according to emails disclosed during the trial.
“In the dog-eat-dog world of journalism, in this frenzy to get the huge story and to try to get something other than everybody else, that is what you do, we suggest, if you are Ian Edmondson – you hack the competition,” prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told jurors in his opening speech.
One defendant had claimed that hacking was so widespread that Edmondson was even accessing Coulson’s voicemail to find out which stories he favoured.
When Mulcaire’s home was raided by police in 2006, officers discovered a large cache of notes recording who had tasked him to hack phones, including “Ian”.
His decision to plead guilty means that eight of the 10 so far charged and dealt with for phone hacking at the NoW have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
Before the trial had got underway had sought disclosure of internal emails distancing himself from the work of Mulcaire.
He sought the emails to prove that he thought Mulcaire was “inefficient” and “a waste of money” and wanted him sacked and that after he arrived at NoW in November 2004 that he cut down on the cash payments.


  1. I recently found a very interesting software for the phone, I think it will be useful for everyone who values someone This is a convenient way to keep track of your girlfriend's phone or your children. He helped me to know the bitter truth about my ex-girlfriend.

  2. Very useful article, thanks to the author. Protecting privacy is very important to me, so I mainly try to protect myself in all aspects of this issue. I recently found a useful software , it helps you keep track of your friends and family. This is convenient, because you will never be deceived.