Phone-hacking scandal: Timeline

The extent of phone hacking at the News of the World led to the closure of the paper after 168 years. Allegations of phone hacking first emerged in 2005 and eight people, including two former editors of the News of the World, have now been charged with conspiring to intercept voicemails. The charges relate to 600 alleged victims, including celebrities, sport stars, politicians and victims of crime.

  • 30 August 2012

    News International's former legal adviser arrested

    Tom Crone
    News International's former legal adviser Tom Crone is arrested at his home in south-west London by police investigating phone hacking. The 60-year-old was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, and interviewed by officers at a south London police station.
  • 24 July 2012

    Eight charged over phone hacking

    Andy Coulson
    The Crown Prosecution Service announces that eight people will face a total of 19 charges relating to phone hacking. Former News of the World staff Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup are accused of conspiring to intercept communications. The private investigator, Glen Mulcaire, will also face charges. Those charged have issued statements denying the allegations.
  • 28 June 2012

    Surrey officers investigated over Milly

    Milly Dowler
    The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) says it is investigating the deputy chief constable of Surrey police, Craig Denholm, over the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's voicemail. It says it is considering whether Mr Denholm knew when he was investigating Milly's disappearance that News of the World had accessed her messages. It says it is also investigating Det Supt Maria Woodall, who took over as senior investigating officer in 2006.
  • 13 June 2012

    Rebekah Brooks appears in court

    Rebekah Brooks
    Rebekah Brooks appears in court along with her husband Charlie Brooks and four former colleagues to face charges of perverting the course of justice. All are bailed for a fortnight and will re-appear at Southwark Crown Court on 22 June.
  • 15 May 2012

    Rebekah Brooks among first charged

    Rebekah Brooks
    The first charges from the multiple investigations linked to phone hacking are announced. Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband, Charlie Brooks, are charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Mrs Brooks's personal assistant Cheryl Carter, chauffeur Paul Edwards, security man Daryl Jorsling, and News International head of security Mark Hanna are also charged with the offence. The Brookses, Ms Carter and Mr Hanna deny the charges against them.
  • 1 May 2012

    Murdoch 'not fit' to lead media empire, say MPs

    Rupert Murdoch
    A group of MPs investigating phone hacking concludes that Rupert Murdoch "is not a fit person" to run a major international company. The cross-party Parliamentary culture, media and sport committee's long-awaited report says Mr Murdoch exhibited "wilful blindness" to what was going on in News Corporation. The News of the World and News International also misled Parliament about the scale of phone hacking, the report says.
  • 3 April 2012

    James Murdoch resigns from role as BSkyB chairman

    J Murdoch
    James Murdoch resigns as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, having previously stepped down as chairman of the newspaper publisher News International. Mr Murdoch, has repeatedly denied knowing about phone hacking at the News of the World and, in a statement, says he is "determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company".
  • 13 March 2012

    Brooks and husband arrested

    Rebekah Brooks
    Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive, and her husband are arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, along with four other people.
  • 27 February 2012

    Church agrees hacking settlement

    Charlotte Church
    Charlotte Church and her parents agree damages and costs of £600,000 with News Group Newspapers - publishers of the defunct News of the World. It was agreed at the High Court that 33 articles in the paper had been published as a result of her family's voicemails being hacked. The settlement includes £300,000 in legal costs and a public apology.
  • 24 February 2012

    Mulcaire hacked phones 2,226 times, papers suggest

    News of the World journalists asked private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones 2,226 times over five years, according to court documents. Mr Justice Vos ordered that the papers relating to civil phone-hacking cases be released to the BBC and other media at a High Court hearing. The claimants' documents include allegations that even after Mulcaire was arrested in 2006, a NoW journalist continued to hack voicemail messages.
  • 7 February 2012

    Met Police admits it failed hacking victims

    John Prescott
    The Metropolitan Police Service formally accepts it failed to warn people in 2006 and 2007 that they were the victims of phone hacking by the News of the World at a judicial review. Ex-Deputy PM Lord Prescott, Labour MP Chris Bryant, ex-Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick and two others had pushed for a review.
  • 20 December 2011

    Piers Morgan says Mirror did not hack phones

    Piers Morgan
    Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan tells the Leveson Inquiry he is not aware of any phone hacking having taken place at the paper while he was in charge. Addressing the hearing from the US, where he is a TV presenter for CNN, he denies claims the practice was "endemic" at the Mirror.
  • 18 December 2011

    Call for Guardian corrections on Milly stories

    Milly Dowler
    News International asks the Guardian to correct articles alleging the News of the World deleted Milly Dowler's voicemails, after the Met Police tell the Leveson Inquiry the messages were "most likely" deleted automatically. The original allegation was a turning point in the hacking affair.
  • 21 November 2011

    Hugh Grant accuses Mail on Sunday of hacking

    Hugh Grant and Sally Dowler
    The actor tells the Leveson Inquiry he could not think of any way the Mail on Sunday could have got a 2007 story about his conversations with a "plummy-voiced" woman other than by hacking his phone. The paper denies his claim. Meanwhile, Sally Dowler, mother of murdered schoolgirl Milly, tells the inquiry she did not sleep for three days after discovering her daughter's phone had been hacked.
  • 14 November 2011

    Inquiry into press ethics opens

    Lord Justice Leveson
    The "culture, practices and ethics of the press" are being examined by a panel led by the appeal court judge Lord Justice Leveson. Alleged phone-hacking victims will give evidence to the inquiry, which is expected to report within a year.
  • 10 November 2011

    James Murdoch appears before MPs for a second time

    James Murdoch
    During his second appearance before a parliamentary select committee, News Corporation chief James Murdoch insists he was unaware of widespread phone-hacking at the News of the World newspaper and rejects suggestions News International operated like the Mafia. He also says two former executives gave MPs "misleading" evidence.
  • 5 November 2011

    NoW spied on hacking lawyers

    Lawyer Charlotte Harris
    The BBC reveals that the News of the World hired an ex-police officer in 2010 to carry out surveillance on two prominent lawyers representing victims of phone hacking. The BBC's Newsnight reports that Derek Webb covertly followed lawyers Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris.
  • 4 November 2011

    Sun journalist arrested over pay to police

    New Scotland Yard
    Detectives investigating claims of payments to police officers question Sun journalist Jamie Pyatt. He is then released on bail until March. He is held as part of Operation Elveden, which is looking at allegations of inappropriate payments to police.
  • 3 November 2011

    Police revise up number of hacking victims

    News of the World
    The Metropolitan Police reveals that a total of 5,795 people may have had their phones hacked by the News of the World newspaper. The figure is "very likely" to be revised in the future following further analysis, the police say.
  • 25 October 2011

    News Corp shareholders rebuke Murdoch sons

    NJames Murdoch
    A third of News Corporation investors vote against James and Lachlan Murdoch being re-elected to the board. The vote is seen as a rebuke over News Corp's handling of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.
  • 21 September 2011

    Police drop demands on the Guardian to reveal sources

    Scotland yard
    Scotland Yard decides not to pursue a legal bid to force the Guardian newspaper to reveal the sources it used for stories about phone hacking. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the paper welcomed the Met's decision "to withdraw this ill-judged order".
  • 19 September 2011

    News International offers £2m to Dowler family

    Miller family
    News International says it is close to agreeing a £2m settlement with the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked. It is reported that Rupert Murdoch also wishes to make a personal donation of £1m to charity.
  • 6 September 2011

    James Murdoch 'told of hacking email'

    Colin Myler
    Former NoW editor Colin Myler and the paper's former legal manager, Tom Crone, tell the Home Affairs Select Committee that James Murdoch must have known hacking was widespread because they had told him about the "for Neville" email. This is said to have implied that the NoW's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck was also implicated in malpractices.
  • 17 August 2011

    Letter alleges News of the World cover-up

    Clive Goodman
    The Guardian says Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and their former editor Andy Coulson "face embarrassing new allegations of dishonesty and cover-up after the publication of an explosive letter written by the News of the World's disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman".
  • 2 August 2011

    NoW managing editor arrested

    Stuart Kuttner
    Stuart Kuttner, 71, who served as the NoW's managing editor for 22 years before resigning in July 2009 to focus on specialised projects, is arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and corruption. In the following weeks, police make further arrests of former NoW staff in connection with the hacking inquiry, including former NoW news editor Greg Miskiw, James Desborough, ex-NoW US editor, Dan Evans, a former NoW reporter, and an unnamed 30-year-old.
  • 29 July 2011

    NoW investigator 'told to hack'

    Glen Mulcaire
    Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking row says he "acted on the instructions of others", according to his lawyers. Their statement continued: "Any suggestion that he acted in such matters unilaterally is untrue." Mr Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 after admitting to phone hacking while he was working for the paper.
  • 28 July 2011

    Sara Payne on the hacking list

    Sara Payne
    The police inform Sara Payne, the mother of eight-year-old murder victim Sarah Payne, that she may have been the victim of phone hacking. Sara Payne had worked with the News of the World to campaign for a law disclosing the addresses of known paedophiles, known as "Sarah's Law". It appears her details have been found in notes compiled by Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective at the centre of the scandal.
  • 22 July 2011

    James Murdoch faces further questions

    Colin Myler
    David Cameron says James Murdoch has more questions to answer about hacking after two former News of the World senior executives say he knew about a key email - contradicting evidence he gave to MPs. Mr Murdoch says he stands by what he said. The Commons culture, media and sport committee chairman writes to Mr Murdoch about the contradiction. Labour MP Tom Watson asks police to investigate.
  • 20 July 2011

    Cameron 'regret' over hiring Coulson

    James and Rupert Murdoch
    Prime Minister David Cameron cuts short a visit to South Africa so he can make a Commons statement on the phone-hacking affair. He says with hindsight he would not have appointed Andy Coulson as his communications chief. He also announces the names of the inquiry panel into phone hacking. They include a civil rights campaigner, former chief constable and journalists.
  • 19 July 2011

    Murdochs face MPs questions

    James and Rupert Murdoch
    News Corporation chiefs Rupert Murdoch and son James appear before MPs to face questioning over the phone-hacking scandal. Rupert Murdoch told MPs he was not aware of the extent of phone hacking and had been misled by staff. Former News International chief Rebekah Brooks told MPs the NoW used private detectives, "like many other papers". Earlier, former Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson told MPs he regretted the appointment of Neil Wallis, a former NoW executive arrested last week.
  • 18 July 2011

    Met officer John Yates resigns

    John Yates
    Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates resigns. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been asked to investigate four former officers, including former commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson and Mr Yates over their handling of the scandal. Ex-NoW reporter Sean Hoare is found dead at his home in Watford. Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious.
  • 17 July 2011

    Met chief resigns, Brooks arrested

    Sir Paul Stephenson
    Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson resigns. Britain's most senior police officer decides to step down after criticism of his links to former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis. Earlier on Sunday, ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks is arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption.
  • 15 July 2011

    Brooks resigns

    Rebekah Brooks
    News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks resigns. In a statement she says: "I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt." Tom Mockridge is her successor. Another senior News Corp executive, Les Hinton, also resigns. He was in charge of News International from 1995-2007 when the NoW was hacking phones. On the same day, Rupert Murdoch makes a personal apology to Milly Dowler's family.
  • 14 July 2011

    Crisis spreads to US

    Newscorp buildings
    US politicians call for the FBI to investigate whether UK journalists broke US wiretap laws. It follows reports that the News of the World approached a New York police officer attempting to buy phone records of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. There are also calls for a US investigation into reported payments to British police, which could expose News Corporation to charges under US anti-corruption laws.
  • 13 July 2011

    Murdoch withdraws BSkyB bid

    Andy Coulson
    Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation withdraws its planned bid to take full ownership of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. The move came as MPs were to vote for a motion with cross party support calling on him to scrap the bid. News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey said the bid had become "too difficult to progress in this climate".
  • 11 July 2011

    NI scandal widens

    Gordon Brown
    The scandal spreads to other News International papers. The Sunday Times is alleged to have illegally "blagged" private financial and property details of Gordon Brown when he was the chancellor. Its Sun stable mate is accused of accessing private medical records about Mr Brown's son Fraser. In an effort to keep its bid for the remainder of BSkyB alive, NI gets its bid referred to the Monopolies Commission.
  • 8 July 2011

    Coulson arrested

    Andy Coulson
    Mr Coulson is arrested over phone hacking and making illegal payments to police and questioned for nine hours. Clive Goodman is also arrested on suspicion of making illegal payments to police. The prime minister announces two inquiries into the scandal -one to be led by a judge.
  • 7 July 2011

    Murdoch closes NoW

    Colin Myler
    In a bid to rid his company of a "toxic" brand, the chief executive of News International, James Murdoch, announces that, after 168 years in print, the News of the World will close. The Sunday's editor Colin Myler pays tribute to his staff after publishing the final edition of the paper, on 10 July, describing them as "the best". The paper says sorry for its conduct and admits: "We lost our way."
  • 4 July 2011

    NoW 'hacked' Milly Dowler's phone

    Rebekah Brooks
    The Guardian reports allegations that NoW hacked into the voicemails left for murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler when Rebekah Brooks was editor. She says it is "inconceivable" that she knew of the activity.
  • June 2011

    Stars get compensation

    Sienna Miller
    Actress Sienna Miller settles for £100,000 damages and costs from NoW. Sky football pundit Andy Gray accepts £20,000 in damages after his voice mail was intercepted by the tabloid. On 20 June some 300 NoW emails from NI's solicitors Harbottle & Lewis are given to Scotland Yard. They allegedly show that Mr Coulson had authorised payments to police officers.
  • April 2011

    NoW reporters arrested

    Neville Thurlbeck
    Three former News of the World journalists are arrested. Ian Edmondson, the former news editor at the Sunday tabloid, and Neville Thurlbeck, a senior reporter, are arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and unlawfully accessing voicemail messages. James Weatherup, another NoW journalist is also arrested. News International admits liability and apologises "unreservedly" to several public figures.
  • February 2011

    High Court orders investigator to tell more

    Alex Marunchak
    On 25 February the High Court orders former private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, to reveal who commissioned him to hack phones. In March, BBC Panorama broadcasts allegations that former senior executive editor Alex Marunchak is implicated in the scandal.
  • 21 Jan 2011

    Coulson resigns a second time

    Andy Coulson
    Mr Coulson resigns from his post at Number 10, blaming coverage of the phone-hacking scandal. He said continued coverage of events connected to his old job at the News of the World had made it difficult for him to do his job properly. He added: "I stand by what I've said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman, it's time to move on."
  • 5 January 2011

    NoW suspends reporter

    Ian Edmondson
    The News of the World suspends Ian Emondson, its assistant editor, news, in the first indication that the paper is taking the mounting scandal seriously. It is reported that Glenn Mulcaire says he was commissioned to hack phones by Mr Emondson.
  • 14 September 2010

    Clamour for action increases

    Sienna Miller
    Scotland Yard re-opens the inquiry to question Mr Hoare and Mr McMullan as witnesses but later announces that no new evidence has been found. Later, on 17 September, Lord Prescott and others launch legal action seeking judicial review of Scotland Yard investigation. In December, Sienna Miller's lawyers say they have found new evidence in the material seized by Scotland Yard in August 2006.
  • September 2010

    More revelations

    Sean Hoare
    On 1 September a New York Times investigation quotes an ex-NoW reporter - Sean Hoare - who says phone hacking was encouraged at the tabloid. Mr Hoare also tells the BBC that phone hacking was "endemic" at the paper and that Mr Coulson asked him to do it. Another ex NoW reporter, Paul McMullan, tells the Guardian that other illegal reporting techniques were widespread.
  • 2010

    NoW story begins to crumble

    Max Clifford
    In February a Commons culture, media and sport committee report finds no evidence that Mr Coulson knew phone-hacking took place at the News of the World. However, it says it is "inconceivable" that no one apart from Goodman was aware of it. On 9 March the Guardian reports that PR supremo Max Clifford was paid £1m to drop legal action that could have revealed more NoW reporters hacked phones.
  • 1 Sept 2009

    Rebekah Brooks promotion

    Ex-NoW editor Rebekah Brooks leaves The Sun to become the chief executive of News International, a further elevation for one of Rupert Murdoch's favourites. Appearing before the Commons committee, News International chairman Les Hinton denied former royal editor Goodman was paid to keep quiet about the affair. A second PCC report on hacking concluded that it was not misled by NoW. This report has now been formally withdrawn.
  • 21 July 2009

    Coulson repeats denial of widespread hacking

    Andy Coulson
    The Guardian newspaper reveals up to 3,000 people may have had their voice mails hacked by NoW journalists. The Commons culture, media and sport committee interviews News International executives about the claims.Mr Coulson tells the committeethat he has "never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place."
  • 8 July 2009

    NoW payments revealed

    John Yates
    Details of the payments to Gordon Taylor and two other football figures totalling £1m are published in the Guardian. The money was paid to settle legal cases that would have named other journalists who hacked phones. NoW says the allegations are "false". The next day Assistant Met commissioner John Yates says after "the most careful investigation by experienced detectives" no further investigation is required.
  • 7 Dec 2007

    Nearly £1m paid to 'keep story' out of headlines

    James Murdoch
    On 7 December 2007 Rupert Murdoch's youngest son, James Murdoch, becomes the chief executive of News Corp's European and Asian operations. In April of the following year, he agrees a payment to Gordon Taylor of the Football Association reported to be £700,000, to settle a phone hacking claim. The deal included a gagging order preventing Mr Taylor from discussing the case. Mr Murdoch later says that he "did not have a complete picture" of the situation at the tabloid
  • 31 May 2007

    Coulson joins the Conservatives

    Andy Coulson
    Four months after he resigned over the royal hacking scandal Mr Coulson is appointed as the Conservative party's director of communications and planning. A few days later David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, chooses Mr Coulson as his media advisor.
  • 15 May 2007

    Press watchdog backs NoW line

    On 15 May the Press Complaints Commission, the newspaper regulation watchdog, published a report on hacking but said it found no evidence of wrongdoing at the NoW. Later in May, Harbottle and Lewis, News International's lawyers, also reviewed internal emails between Mr Coulson and executives but found "no evidence" they were aware of Goodman's actions.
  • 2007

    NoW tries damage limitation

    Glen Mulcaire
    On 26 January Clive Goodman, the News of the World's former royal editor, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are jailed for illegally accessing the royal phone messages. As editor of the newspaper at the time, Andy Coulson resigns. Colin Myler takes over. In March, Les Hinton, a senior aide to Rupert Murdoch, tells a Commons committee that a "rigorous internal investigation" found no evidence of widespread hacking at the paper.
  • 2005

    Origins of the scandal

    Clive Goodman
    In November, the newspaper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, writes a story about Prince William suffering a knee injury. Buckingham Palace suspects the prince's voicemail was hacked to get the story and in December calls in Scotland Yard. In August 2006, police arrest Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for illegal phone hacking.
  • January 2003

    Andy Coulson appointed NoW editor

    Andy Coulson
    Andy Coulson becomes editor at the News of the World. Appears with Wade before a Commons committee, where Wade admits to paying police for information. In 2005 NoW named newspaper of the year. Mr Coulson tells the awards ceremony: "The News of the World doesn't pretend to do anything other than reveal big stories and titillate and entertain the public, while exposing crime and hypocrisy."
  • May 2000

    Rebekah Brooks, nee Wade, becomes NoW editor

    Rebekah Brooks
    Rebekah Brooks (Wade, as she was then) is appointed editor of the News of the World. Gains a profile for her controversial "Sarah's law" campaign in which the paper began naming sex offenders. During her three years as editor, it's alleged that NoW reporters hacked the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the parents of the Soham murder victims. She moves to the Sun in 2003.


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