Andy Coulson jailed for 18 months: News of the World journalists sentenced for phone hacking

The disgraced Number 10 spin doctor was found guilty of conspiring to hack phones

Andy Coulson has been jailed for 18 months for conspiring to hack phones at the News of the World.

The former editor was convicted by a jury last week, although they failed to reach a verdict on other charges.

Coulson, who went on to become director of communications for David Cameron, arrived at the Old Bailey with three other former NoW journalists.

Justice Saunders said the paper's delay telling police about the intercepted Milly Dowler voicemail in 2002 was "unforgiveable" and showed the motivation was to "take credit for finding her" and boost sales.

Coulson believed hacking was necessary to maintain the newspaper’s “competitive edge”, the judge added.

He told the defendants: “I do not accept ignorance of the law provides any mitigation.

"The laws of protection are given to the rich, famous and powerful as to all."

Coulson, 46, faces a retrial on two charges of bribing police officers for royal phone directories.

Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally access voicemails Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally access voicemails The newspaper’s news editor Greg Miskiw, 64, and chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 52, were also sentenced today along with news editor James Weatherup, 58.

They had all admitted one general count of conspiring to illegally access voicemails between October 2000 and August 2006.

Miskiw, from Leeds, and Thurlbeck, of Esher, were each jailed for six months at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Weatherup, of Brentwood, was given a jail term of four months, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

Glenn Mulcaire, a former private investigator, was jailed for six months, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 200 hours of community service.

Video: Andy Coulson's reaction to prison sentence

According to Mulcaire's notes, Miskiw tasked him 1,500 times, Thurlbeck 261 times and Weatherup 157 times, the court heard.

Justice Saunders told them: "All the defendants that I have to sentence, save for Mr Mulcaire, are distinguished journalists who had no need to behave as they did to be successful.

"They all achieved a great deal without resorting to the unlawful invasion of other people's privacy. Those achievements will now count for nothing.

"I accept that their reputations and their careers are irreparably damaged."

The Prime Minister apologised for appointing Coulson as his spin doctor after the guilty verdict last month and supporting him when the initial phone hacking allegations came to light.

Responding to his sentence, Mr Cameron said: "What it says is that it's right that justice should be done and that no one is above the law - as I've always said."

A spokesman for the Hacked Off campaign group said no one could take pleasure from the sentences handed down.

He added: "These sentences are the inevitable outcome of a colossal failure of corporate governance within News International that allowed a culture of criminal behaviour to fester for many years."

Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges after the eight-week trial, as was her husband Charlie Brooks.

Stuart Kuttner, the retired managing editor, was also cleared of involvement in a six-year phone hacking conspiracy and Brooks’ former assistant, Cheryl Carter, was cleared of trying to hide evidence.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'