UK prosecutors press charges against former tabloid editors | News | DW | 24.07.2012
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UK prosecutors press charges against former tabloid editors

Prosecutors in Britain have said they are charging the British prime minister's former media chief and the ex-editor of a major British newspaper with phone hacking.

Prosecutors said on Tuesday that Andy Coulson, ex-media chief of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and former News International executive Rebekah Brooks would be charged with illegal phone hacking and the interception of voicemails.

Both suspects are former editors of the now-defunct News of the World, part of the newspaper empire of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Coulson and Brooks have both been linked to the interception of the voice messages of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in 2002.

That case in particular ignited the phone-hacking scandal that saw Brooks, who also edited the mass-circulation Sun newspaper, resign as chief executive of Murdoch's British newspaper group.

Murdoch, 81, was forced to close the News of the World last July over the revelations.

Coulson resigned as Cameron's media spokesman in January 2011, after he was questioned about the scandal.

Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, leaves Westminster Magistrates' Courts after she was granted bail on charges of attempting to cover up tabloid phone-hacking, London, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. (Foto:Sang Tan/AP/dapd)

Brooks went on to edit The Sun and then became group chief executive

Britain's public prosecutor, the Crown Prosecution Service, said that eight people in all were being charged in relation to the allegations.

In total, the voicemails of some 600 people are alleged to have been hacked.

Those believed to have been affected include Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, as well as England footballer Wayne Rooney and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.

Among those being charged is private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed for phone hacking for six months in 2007.

Coulson edited the News of the World from 2003 to 2007 and was preceded by Brooks, who edited the tabloid from 2000 to 2003.

rc/tj (AFP, AP, dpa)