Plot thickens as veteran lawyer quits News International

Tom Crone knows where many of the bodies are buried, and has been a remarkable Fleet Street lawyer

Tom Crone once remarked that doing legal work on the News of the World could feel like being on "a forward patrol in Helmand province" with "plenty of incoming, occasional hand-to-hand combat and a high risk of casualties". Yesterday he became the latest casualty of the meltdown at News International, resigning after 26 years in its legal department.

With the phone-hacking scandal raging in Parliament, Mr Crone walked out of the company headquarters in Wapping, east London, where he has stood at the shoulder of some of Britain's most famous tabloid editors, from Kelvin MacKenzie, David Yelland, Stuart Higgins and Rebekah Brooks of The Sun to Piers Morgan and Andy Coulson at the News of the World. Mr Crone follows close on the heels of NI's head of legal, Jon Chapman, who left last week.

A friend briefed that the lawyer was going with a "clear conscience", and had not been party to crucial emails that had only recently come to light. "He has still never seen these emails, but was made aware of their contents several weeks ago," said the friend.

Mr Crone gave evidence to MPs on phone hacking in 2009, and said then: "At no stage ... did any evidence arise that the problem of accessing by our reporters, or complicity of accessing by our reporters, went beyond the Goodman/Mulcaire situation." The lawyer also accompanied Ms Brooks when she let slip to MPs in 2003 that The Sun had paid police officers.

Mr Crone knows where many of Wapping's bodies are buried. With his lengthy blond hair, his fame has been boosted by numerous celebrity cases, including the News of the World's High Court defeat by Max Mosley. He claimed a success last year when the courts overturned a super-injunction brought by the former England captain John Terry.

Mr Crone, who also worked on defending a famous libel action brought by the wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, Sonia Sutcliffe, against the NOTW, enjoyed his greatest victory over Jeffrey Archer, overturning the former Tory MP's libel win 14 years earlier.

A personal friend of the late silk George Carman, what made him different from many counterparts was his instinct for journalism. "One of his great strengths was that he found ways of getting stories into the paper, rather than keeping them out," said one former editor. Mr Crone, a former captain of the Press Golf Society known for his dry humour, would attend the leaving parties of old hacks and be invited to celebrity bashes organised by Ms Brooks and other bosses. Those attempting to contact him yesterday were greeted with the poetic voicemail: "This is Crone, not on the phone, please leave a message, after the tone."

"Come-uppance is a brilliant word," he once wrote, in an article for The Sun on Jonathan Ross and "preening celebrity peacocks" who take legal action against newspapers. Some will think that Mr Crone has now had his. Others will see him as the latest Wapping victim of friendly fire.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
News
peopleWrestling veteran drifting in and out of consciousness
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone