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Timeline: News of the World hacking scandal

As Rebekah Brooks bows to pressure to resign, take a look back at events leading up to the scandal…

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, who resigned today.
News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, who resigned today.
Image: [File photo] Michael Stephens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE NEWS OF the World phone hacking scandal has today led to the resignation of Rebekah Brooks from her position as chief executive of News International.

From the jailing of the News of the World’s royal correspondent in 2007 to Milly Dowler’s family learning last month that the teen’s voicemail messages had been accessed after she went missing and was murdered, the repercussions have grown day by day.

Here’s a look back at the main events:

  • 2000: Rebekah Brooks becomes the editor of the News of the World.
  • 2002: 13-year-old Milly Dowler disappears in London and is murdered. Her remains are found in September.
  • 2003: Rebekah Brooks becomes the editor of The Sun. Andy Coulson becomes the editor of the News of the World.
  • 2005: Royal officials complain to police about potential hacking of phones after the News of the World prints a story about Prince William, which it’s claimed could only be known if messages were hacked. A police inquiry is launched.
  • 2007: The News of the World’s royal editor Clive Goodman is convicted and jailed for four months for conspiring to listen to voicemails. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire is sent to jail for six months for his part in the hacking. He also pleads guilty to five other charges. Coulson resigns, but says he knew nothing about it. He becomes David Cameron’s director of communications.
  • 2009: Rebekah Brooks becomes chief executive of News International. The Guardian reports that News of the World journalists hacked phone messages between 2003 and 2007. Britain’s Press Complaints commission says there is no evidence that hacking was ongoing. Police says there is no need for a probe into the hacking claims.
  • 2010: The UK parliament’s standards watchdog is asked to investigate hacking allegations at the News of the World under Coulson, who has now become David Cameron’s spokesman. A former News of the World journalist claims that hacking was common and encouraged by Coulson.
  • January 2011: British police open a new inquiry into allegations of hacking. Coulson resigns as Cameron’s spokesperson.
  • April 2011: News of the World former editor Ian Edmonson and reporter Neville Thurlbeck are arrested on suspicion of hacking into voicemails. The paper admits to phone hacking and officially apologises, setting up a compensation fund. On 10 14 April News of the World journalist James Weatherup is arrested.
  • May 2011: The News of the World admits liability in the case of actress Sienna Miller, who accepts a payout of £100,000.
  • June 2011: Kate Middleton and Tony Blair are among the people drawn into the hacking scandal and it’s reported that a number of allegations have been made about the activities of the private investigator Jonathan Rees. It’s also reported that Rebekah Brook’s phone was accessed between 2005 and 2006. Freelance journalist Terenia Taras is arrested on suspicion of phone hacking, as is Press Association royal correspondent Laura Elston. Levi Bellfield is found guilty of murdering Milly Dowler.
  • July 2011: Dowler’s family lawyer says he’s been told about the hacking of the missing teen’s phone, and that some messages may have been deleted. Police also say they have been in touch with the parents of the Soham victims, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The list grows to include victims of the London 7/7 bombings and the parents of Madeline McCann.

  • 5 July 2011: It’s reported that payments may have been made to police by the News of the World. Advertisers begin to pull out of working with the paper.
  • 6 July 2011: David Cameron orders an inquiry while Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News International and its parent company News Corporation, promises full cooperation.
  • 7 July 2011: News Corp announces that the News of the World is to close, with the last edition on 10 July. It’s reported that Andy Coulson is to be arrested.
  • 8 July 2011: News of the World staff turn their anger on Rebekah Brooks, saying they believe their jobs have been sacrificed to save hers. Pressure mounts on her to consider her position. Andy Coulson is arrested. Former News of the World Royal Editor Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007, is arrested and bailed. An unnamed 63-year-old man is also arrested.
  • 9 July 2011: Rupert Murdoch flies into London to meet with senior News International staff.
  • 10 July 2011: The News of the World prints its final edition. The Labour leader Ed Miliband calls for a delay in the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation.
  • 11 July 2011: It’s reported that Gordon Brown’s bank account and medical records have been accessed by other papers in the News International stable. The Guardian later apologises for reporting that The Sun hacked the former PM’s medical records.
  • 12 July 2011: It’s revealed that police officers will be quizzed in relation to the failure to re-open the inquiry in 2009. Murdoch faces increased pressure to abandon the BSkyB bid.
  • 13 July 2011: Murdoch announces that he’s abandoning the bid for BSkyB. A US senator demands an investigation into possible hacking of the phones of 9/11 victims.
  • 14 July 2011: It’s revealed that both Brooks and Murdoch will face questions in parliament. Neil Wallis, the former News of the World Executive editor is arrested.
  • 15 July 2011: Rebekah Brooks resigns from News International, to be replaced by Tom Mockridge.

Read more: Rebekah Brooks resigns from News International>

Meet the new CEO of News International…Tom Mockridge>

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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