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News International chief Rebekah Brooks faces police quiz

The former News of the World editor is likely to be questioned by officers investigating the phone-hacking scandal.

Rebekah Brooks with Rupert Murdoch at his London flat yesterday
Rebekah Brooks with Rupert Murdoch at his London flat yesterday
Image: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FORMER NEWS OF the World editor Rebekah Brooks is likely to be questioned by police over the phone-hacking scandal which closed down the paper.

Ms Brooks, who edited the tabloid from 2000 to 2003 as voicemails on the phone of murder victim Millie Dowler were allegedly being hacked into, has been widely criticised for refusing to resign as chief executive of News International. More than 200 journalists lost their jobs in the 168-year-old paper’s shutdown, including 22 in Ireland.

It’s understood she would be questioned as a witness rather than a suspect by investigating officers, according to the BBC. She is believed to have the full support of Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News International’s parent company.

Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Dow Jones chief executive Les Hinton could become the most high-profile casualty of the crisis. Mr Hinton was in charge of Murdoch’s UK newspapers at the time of the alleged hacking – and friends fear he is being blamed for failing to contain the scandal, according to the Financial Times. “Les will be sacrificed to save James [Murdoch, Rupert's son] and Rebekah,” one source told the paper.

Mr Murdoch flew to Britain yesterday in a bid to contain the crisis, which is threatening to derail his planned takeover of UK television giant BSkyB. Soon after arriving, he appeared publicly with his arm around Ms Brooks, Reuters reports. Asked what his priority was, he gestured to her and said “This one.”

Gallery: Preparing the Irish News of the World’s final edition >

Listen: NOTW staff angrily accuse Rebekah Brooks of arrogance at staff meeting >

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Michael Freeman

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