Journalist who blew the whistle found dead


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The Independent Online

A former News of the World reporter who blew the whistle on widespread phone hacking at the title has been found dead.

Sean Hoare, who also worked on The Sun, was discovered at his home in Langley Road, Watford, yesterday morning. "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious," said a Hertfordshire Police spokesman.

Mr Hoare, who had health problems caused by drugs and alcohol, was the first News International journalist to allege that Andy Coulson had known about widespread phone hacking at the NOTW.

After being sacked by the NOTW when his health deteriorated, he told The New York Times that Mr Coulson – who was arrested by police on suspicion of phone hacking a fortnight ago – actively encouraged his staff to eavesdrop on messages on celebrities' phones in the search for scoops. Mr Coulson, then David Cameron's director of communications, denied the claims, saying he had "never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place".

Mr Hoare was interviewed under caution as a suspect rather than a witness by Metropolitan Police officers led by John Yates, who resigned from the force yesterday.