Ex-NOTW whistleblowing reporter found dead

A former News of the World reporter who alleged Andy Coulson "encouraged" him to hack phones was found dead today.

Sean Hoare, who made claims in a New York Times article about the Prime Minister's former communications chief, was discovered at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire, after concerns were raised about his whereabouts.

The death is being treated as "unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious", Hertfordshire police said.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: "At 10.40am today police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street.

"Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found.

"The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious.

"Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

Last year Mr Hoare publicly claimed that Mr Coulson was aware of phone hacking while he was editor at the News of the World.

He gave an interview to the New York Times, and then to the BBC, about the use of phone hacking at the newspaper.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, he 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 the 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, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said in December.

The showbiz journalist was dismissed from the News of the World for drink and drug problems.