Hacking whistleblower Sean Hoare found dead at his home
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Tuesday 19 July 2011
A former News of the World reporter who blew the whistle on widespread phone hacking at the title has been found dead.
Sean Hoare, who also worked on The Sun, was pronounced dead at his home in Langley Road, Watford, shortly before 11am yesterday. Hertfordshire police said his death, although unexplained, was not suspicious. Investigations are continuing.
Police forensic officers were seen entering Mr Hoare's home at around 9.30pm last night carrying evidence bags, clipboards, torches and laptop-style bags.
Mr Hoare, who had health problems from drinking and drugs during his years as a showbusiness reporter, was the first News International journalist to allege that Andy Coulson had known about widespread phone hacking at the NOTW.
After being sacked by the NOTW when his health deteriorated, he told The New York Times that Mr Coulson actively encouraged his staff to eavesdrop on messages on celebrities' phones. Mr Hoare, once a close friend of Mr Coulson, said: "He was well aware that the practice exists. To deny it is a lie, simply a lie."
Mr Coulson, then the Prime Minister's communications chief, denied the claims, saying he had "never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place".
Some commentators claimed Mr Hoare's testimony could not be taken seriously because he had been dismissed from the NOTW because of his drink and drug addiction. But Mr Hoare always insisted that all he was doing was telling the truth.
After The New York Times article last September, he was interviewed under caution as a suspect rather than a witness by Metropolitan Police officers. He made no comment to the team led by Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who resigned from the force yesterday over claims he mishandled the case.
Mr Hoare, who recalled how he took cocaine and pills while mingling with rock stars, claimed last week that NOTW reporters bribed police officers to track targets for stories using mobile-phone mast technology.
While acknowledging that his health was failing, he expressed a desire that journalism be cleaned up and said he had not been paid for his allegations. He lived long enough to see the arrest of Mr Coulson – who denies any wrongdoing – on suspicion of phone hacking a fortnight ago and police corruption earlier this month.
Mr Hoare's death means that his in-depth knowledge of alleged illegality at the defunct Sunday redtop will not be available to the public inquiry into illicit behaviour by the press, which was confirmed by David Cameron last week. It is not known whether Operation Weeting, the current police investigation into phone hacking at the NOTW, interviewed him.
Mr Hoare apparently told a reporter last week that he had been injured the previous weekend while dismantling a marquee put up for a children's party. An accidental blow from a heavy pole used to erect the marquee had had broken his nose and badly injured his foot.
The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Last night Hertfordshire police issued a statement, which 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... the man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after."
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Susan Sarandon on David Bowie romance: 'He's worth idolising'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Exclusive: Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...