News editor told me to hack phones, says Mulcaire

 

Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator used by the News of the World to hack voicemails, told the paper's chief lawyer as early as 2007 that he had been instructed by the paper's former news editor as well as its royal reporter, a court heard yesterday.

The High Court was told that Mulcaire had contradicted the NOTW's long-standing defence that voicemail eavesdropping was restricted to the royal editor Clive Goodman, by telling Tom Crone, the title's senior legal adviser, that he had been commissioned by Ian Edmondson, the head of news.

The claim suggests that a senior executive at News International knew within months of the jailing of Mulcaire and Goodman in January 2007 that there was evidence to challenge its efforts to contain the phone-hacking scandal by blaming it on a single "rogue" reporter.

The allegation was made as Mulcaire launched a bid to force the NOTW's publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), to reverse its decision to stop paying his legal fees relating to the ongoing civil damages claims brought by victims of phone hacking.

The private investigator, from Sutton, Surrey, claims that NGN had no right to break the terms of an alleged indemnity in respect of his six-figure legal costs agreed in June 2010 when it stopped paying his bills following a public undertaking to examine the issue by James Murdoch in July. Ben Williams, the barrister representing Mulcaire, said the private investigator had been in contact with NOTW from an early stage and "told Tom Crone in 2007 that it was not just Clive Goodman but Ian Edmondson who had been tasking him with interception".

Mulcaire's solicitor, Sarah Webb, told the court that NGN's position was the indemnity depended on information from Mulcaire about who had instructed him to intercept phone messages. The case continues.