Andy Coulson and six others in court over hacking claims

 

The Prime Minister's former spin doctor Andy Coulson was among seven people in court today over alleged phone hacking.

Six former members of staff from the now defunct tabloid the News of the World (NOTW) and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Coulson, wearing a grey suit with a white shirt and black tie, appeared in the dock along with ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, former reporter James Weatherup and Mulcaire.

The six former NOTW staff face one general charge of alleged phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006, that prosecutors claim could affect as many as 600 victims, along with other specific accusations.

They and Mulcaire spoke only to confirm their names and addresses during the short hearing and are next due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on September 26.

The seven defendants were released on bail on the condition that they live at given addresses, do not contact their fellow accused and give the police seven days' notice should they wish to travel abroad.

They appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Daphne Wickham today, and the charges against each of them were read out to the court.

Coulson, 42, from south east London, is charged with allegedly accessing the phone messages of murder victim Milly Dowler, former Labour ministers David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and George Best's son Calum.

Kuttner, 72, from Woodford Green, Essex, is accused in relation to Milly and Mr Blunkett; and Miskiw, 62, from Leeds, faces charges linked to Dowler, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Abi Titmuss and John Leslie, former union boss Andrew Gilchrist, Mr Blunkett, Delia Smith, Mr Clarke, Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller, and Wayne Rooney.

Edmondson, 43, from south west London, faces charges in relation to Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Law, Frost, Miller, former MP Mark Oaten, Rooney, Best, former Labour minister Tessa Jowell and her husband David Mills, Lord Prescott, Professor John Tulloch, Lord Frederick Windsor, and Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

Thurlbeck, 50, from Esher, Surrey, is accused over Milly, Eriksson, Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Mr Oaten, Ms Jowell and Mr Mills.

Weatherup, 56, from Brentwood in Essex, is charged in relation to Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Law, Frost and Miller, Jolie and Pitt, Rooney, Lord Prescott and Sir Paul and Ms Mills.

Private investigator Mulcaire, 41, from Sutton, south London, is charged over Milly, Mr Gilchrist, Smith and Mr Clarke.

The CPS announced last month that the seven would be charged, as well as former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks who is due to appear at the same court on September 3.

She faces the general count as well as two separate counts in relation to Milly and Mr Gilchrist.

PA

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