Toxicology tests after death of whistleblower will take weeks

It will likely be weeks before it is known for certain how the phone-hacking whistleblower Sean Hoare died, police said yesterday evening.

The former showbiz reporter at the News of the World, who was the first journalist there to claim that Andy Coulson had knowledge of phone hacking, was found dead on Monday at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire, after friends raised concerns over his whereabouts.

His death came after a series of explosive newspaper interviews in which he exposed the "dark arts" employed by journalists at the tabloid.

It is understood that no suicide note was found. He was known to be battling an addiction to alcohol.

Hertfordshire police said that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Hoare's death, but were awaiting the results of toxicology report to determine exactly how he died. Such examinations can often take up to three weeks.

A police spokesman said: "There is no evidence of third-party involvement and the death is non-suspicious. Further toxicology results are now awaited and there is an ongoing examination of health problems identified at the post-mortem."

Although Mr Hoare was known to be struggling with health problems, friends said he had become increasingly "paranoid" that "people were coming for him" in the days leading to his death.

In one of the most sensational interviews, with The New York Times last year, he claimed that his former friend and editor, Mr Coulson, had actively encouraged him to hack into voicemails while he was working at NOTW.

On the night after his death, he also appeared in a BBC documentary and a daily broadsheet in which he sought to "set the record straight" over the improper news-gathering techniques that were allegedly encouraged by senior staff at the paper.

Asked if Mr Hoare had ever mentioned the recent voicemail-hacking scandal, a neighbour said: "He did say something about phone hacking. He did mention he was paranoid and that there was a conspiracy."

The neighbour said Mr Hoare had recently suffered a fall and had started to look jaundiced. Mr Hoare lived in a first-floor corner flat with his wife, Jo, whose car was in the car park of the four-storey block.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Mr Hoare said phone hacking was "endemic" in the newspaper industry. Mr Hoare, who worked on The Sun before being recruited by Mr Coulson to work on NOTW, said: "He was well aware that the practice exists. To deny it is a lie, simply a lie." Mr Coulson denies the allegations.

Later, Mr Hoare was interviewed by police over the allegations he had made but would offer no comment, Keir Starmer, director of Public Prosecutions, said in December.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

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'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power