Lawyers for Sienna Miller claim to have discovered evidence which shows that a senior News of the World executive was aware a private investigator was being paid to hack into the actress' voicemails.
The claims are detailed in a document lodged with the High Court in preparation for Ms Miller's civil case against the newspaper. She is suing News of the World for breach of privacy and harassment.
The claims come just a week after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that there was no new evidence which would justify bringing prosecutions against any other journalists from News of the World.
In the document, Ms Miller's legal team says the evidence is to be found among the paperwork and other records seized by the police from the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in August 2006 – material which has now been released to the lawyers on the orders of a High Court judge.
Specifically, they point to Mulcaire's handwritten notes which, they say, imply that the news editor of the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, instructed him to intercept Ms Miller's voicemail.
If proven it would cast doubt on the News of the World's insistence that Clive Goodman – the paper's former royal correspondent who was jailed along with Mulcaire in January 2007 – was a "rogue reporter" acting alone.
The document says that at Goodman's trial it was revealed that Mulcaire wrote the word "Clive" in the top left-hand corner of his notes about hacking undertaken on Goodman's behalf.
According to the document, Mulcaire's notes for the hacking of the actress "in several cases were marked 'Ian' in the top left-hand corner, which the claimant infers to be Ian Edmondson". Mr Edmondson was appointed news editor of the News of the World by Andy Coulson – now David Cameron's head of communications at Downing Street – and still holds the job.
The claims are similar to those made against Neville Thurlbeck, the paper's chief reporter, and an email of a transcript marked "for Neville". The suggestion was that the email contained voicemails transcribed by a junior reporter for Mr Thurlbeck.
Mr Thurlbeck denies receipt of the email and knowledge of the transcript. No action was ever taken by the police against him.
It has been suggested that Scotland Yard failed to investigate the phone tapping at the News of the World properly and that evidence implicating other journalists in the hacking of voicemails was ignored. But last week the CPS said that – despite a number of new witnesses coming forward to say that the practice was widespread at the newspaper – none of them had evidence which would reach the threshold necessary for a criminal prosecution.
Nearly 200 people have contacted the police to find out if their phones were tapped by the paper. A spokeswoman for the News of the World said: "We take seriously any allegation made about the conduct of a member of staff at the News of the World during the course of this investigation. Should the allegation be proven we will take appropriate action."Reuse content