Mulcaire makes his defence: I only did what I was told to do

  • @oliver_wright

The disgraced private detective at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal yesterday turned on his former employer and said the paper had been fully aware of everything he did for them.

In a strongly worded statement issued through his solicitors, Glenn Mulcaire said any suggestion that he acted "unilaterally" was "untrue".

"As an employee he acted on the instructions of others," the statement said. "There were also occasions when he understood his instructions were from those who genuinely wished to assist in solving crimes."

The statement suggests that Mulcaire, who was jailed with former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman for accessing the voicemails of public figures in January 2007, is likely to accuse his former employees of commissioning all the phone hacking he did.

Coming just a day after it emerged that the phone number of Sara Payne had been discovered in his files, it also suggests that she may have been deliberately targeted by people at the paper.

Earlier this month, News International announced it was going to stop paying his legal fees "with immediate effect". The company had covered these since his arrest in 2006.

It was also announced yesterday that James Murdoch is likely to be recalled before the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee to answer allegations made by former senior News International staff that he may have misled Parliament.

Colin Myler, the former editor of the News of the World, and Tom Crone, the paper's former legal manager, issued a public statement last week disputing evidence given by Mr Murdoch that he had been unaware of an email which implicated the paper's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck in the phone-hacking scandal when he authorised a payment of over £700,000 to a victim.

Yesterday, the chairman of the the Culture Committee, John Whittingdale, said that he intended to write to all three men asking detailed questions about the disputed events and added it was likely they would be recalled in order to give oral evidence.

"We have considered this morning the evidence we received last week from Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, and subsequent statements by certain individuals have raised questions about some of the evidence we have received," he said.

"As a result we are going to write to ask for further details from various areas where evidence is disputed."

It was highly likely James Murdoch would be recalled to give evidence to the committee, he said, but he wanted to receive written evidence first. "I think the chances are that we will take oral evidence, but before doing so I want to get the answers to the detailed questions that we have," he said.

The committee is also likely to take evidence from Jon Chapman, formerly News International's head lawyer, who wrote to the committee saying that there had been "a number of serious inaccuracies" in the Murdochs' evidence.

The Labour MP Tom Watson, who has led the Parliamentary campaign against phone hacking, noted: "James Murdoch tried to resist our original invitation and had to be compelled."