Cahal Milmo: The Wapping 'family' was breaking up before our eyes

 

Share
Related Topics

At times yesterday the only sound coming out of the Wilson Room in the Palace of Westminster was the thunk of the buck being passed between senior figures who once ran Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper empire.

It will ultimately fall to Scotland Yard's huge Operation Weeting investigation and prosecutors to decide whether there is enough evidence of criminal actions to bring a case against those arrested (15 and counting) since April. But there is another, parallel battle going on here which is about the reputation of Murdoch lieutenants who are unlikely to face questions under police caution, but nonetheless find their deeds under close scrutiny and, crucially, the standing of the media mogul's global empire and that of his son, James.

None of the four men appearing yesterday – former News of the World chief lawyer Tom Crone, its former editor Colin Myler, former head of legal affairs for NI, Jonathan Chapman, and NI's former head of HR, Daniel Cloke – have been arrested. But, with the exception of Mr Myler, they had front row seats for how NI responded to the arrest and conviction of disgraced royal editor Clive Goodman and all of them were working in Fortress Wapping while the company persisted with its "one rogue reporter" defence and sought to keep a lid on the hacking affair.

Subsequently, what can be reasonably assumed to have been the crystal clear lines of managerial responsibility at NI and considerable powers of recall of its most formidable minds have become somewhat ... hazy.

The most high-profile of these battles of memory is the clash between the "certainty" of Mr Crone and Mr Myler that they left James Murdoch in no doubt about the existence of the "For Neville" email and its implications, and the one-time heir's blunt denial that they did anything of the sort.

But there were other disparities, including the insistence of Mr Cloke that Mr Myler had known all about a decision to pay Goodman £240,000 despite his summary dismissal from the company. The former editor, who was brought in to steady the NOTW ship and ended up presiding over its demise, insisted he had known nothing about it, describing Goodman's appeal against dismissal as "surreal".

It is perhaps unsurprising that one of the most oft-repeated phrases of the day was: "Not that I can recall, no." Similarly, Mr Myler could not recall ordering a search of invoices relating to Goodman's work with private detective Glenn Mulcaire, referred to by Mr Cloke, while Mr Crone made it clear it was not him but Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch's closest confidant and former NI chairman, who would have rubber-stamped the former royal editor's sizeable payoff.

In the midst of these shifting sands, Mr Chapman observed that there was a sense of "family" when Wapping comes to dealing with its journalists. On the basis of yesterday's performance, the break-up of that family is likely to get even messier than it is already.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Business Analyst - Data Migration, £75,000, Manchester

£60000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP B...

SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

MS Dynamics NAV Developer

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: MS Dynamics NAV...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lyceum Theatre in the West End  

The West End might be beating Broadway, but think about who it is that can afford to fill the seats

Rosie Millard
 

L’Unita: The venerable organ of Italian communism breathes its last

Peter Popham
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star