Phone hacking: Bethany Usher to face no further action

 

A university lecturer arrested over phone hacking allegations at the News of the World has been told she will not face charges.

Bethany Usher, 31, denied wrongdoing after she was questioned last week in Northumberland over her time working for the now-axed tabloid.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said her bail date of March next year was cancelled yesterday as she was informed there would be no further action.

Ms Usher, who also worked at the People, was held in connection with conspiring to intercept communications.

A statement from the force's Operation Weeting squad said: "The woman was taken to a police station in Northumberland and initially released on bail to return to a police station in Northumberland on a date in late March 2012 pending further inquiries.

"She has since been released - no further action - on 7 December."

Ms Usher, who worked in the newspaper industry for seven years, is currently a senior journalism lecturer at Teesside University.

In a statement after her arrest, she said: "I have never been involved in the interception of telecommunications in any way and strictly adhered to the Press Complaints Commission code of practice."

The development comes after private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was released on bail until March over allegations of phone hacking and perverting the course of justice.

Former footballer Mulcaire, 41, was arrested yesterday after officers swooped on his Surrey home at dawn.

His was the 18th hacking-related arrest since the fresh investigation was launched.

Phone-hacking detectives working their way through 300 million emails from News International have arrested a series of high-profile figures, including former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson.

The scandal has already led to the closure of the News of the World after 168 years, prompted a major public inquiry, and forced the resignation of Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and assistant commissioner John Yates.

Some 1,800 people have come forward to express fears that they may have been hacked.

PA