A former News of the World executive advised two Scotland Yard officers on their successful applications to become the country's top policeman, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the Leveson Inquiry heard yesterday.
In a written statement, Neil Wallis, who had close links with a string of senior officers, said he helped Lord Stevens "throughout" his successful application to become head of Scotland Yard in 2000.
Mr Wallis – who later ghost-wrote Lord Stevens' £5,000-a-time NOTW column, "The Chief" after he retired from the Met in 2005 – had advised the would-be commissioner to portray himself as a "copper's copper".
Mr Wallis also helped Sir Paul Stephenson in his successful application to become commissioner in 2009.
Mr Wallis was critical to helping Rupert Murdoch's News International group forge the close relationship with Scotland Yard which some have suggested was the reason it failed for five years to mount a thorough investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World.
After he left his post as deputy editor of the NOTW in 2009, Mr Wallis's company, Chamy Media, was awarded a contract to give advice to Scotland Yard's Directorate of Public Affairs.
Scotland Yard admitted his employment – during a time when the Met was rejecting calls to open a new inquiry into illicit newsgathering techniques at News International – on the day Mr Wallis was arrested in July last year on suspicion of phone hacking.
Last week, Dick Fedorcio, the director of Public Affairs, resigned before gross misconduct proceedings could begin against him over the awarding of the contract.
Mr Wallis strongly rejected suggestions that he was seeking to get something out of senior officers such as his friend, John Yates, the Assistant Commissioner who resigned last year, by taking them out for expensive dinners.