UK & World News

  • 4 July 2014, 19:36

Andy Coulson Jailed For 'Unforgivable' Hacking

Former News Of The World editor Andy Coulson has been jailed for 18 months afterbeing found guilty of conspiring to hack phones following an eight-month trial.

The former Number 10 spin doctor showed no obvious emotion as he was sentenced and sent down to the cells.

Judge Mr Justice Saunders told Coulson and four other defendants: "I do not accept ignorance of the law provides any mitigation.

"The laws of protection are given to the rich, famous and powerful as to all."

He said he had taken into account the impact on the lives of those whose phones were hacked, and the profit made from the crimes.

He singled out the former editor for the heaviest punishment, describing the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler as "unforgiveable".

He said: "Mr Coulson, on the jury's verdict, has to take the major share of the blame for the phone hacking at the News of the World.

"On the jury's verdict he knew about it and encouraged it when he should have stopped it."

He noted that there were many thousands of hacks over the years, involving hundreds of victims.

Coulson, from Charing in Kent, was sentenced alongside three former colleagues and private detective Glenn Mulcaire, who all admitted their part in the phone hacking plot last year.

NOTW news editor Greg Miskiw, 64, from Leeds; chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 52, of Esher, Surrey; and James Weatherup, 58, of Brentwood in Essex have all admitted one general count of conspiring together and with others to illegally access voicemails between October 2000 and August 2006.

Mulcaire, 43, from Sutton in south London, was first convicted of phone hacking with NOTW royal reporter Clive Goodman in 2006 and served a prison sentence.

Miskiw and Thurlbeck were each handed six-month prison terms. The terms will be reduced by 53 days for time spent electronically tagged.

Weatherup was given a four-month suspended sentence, while Mulcaire was given a six-month suspended sentence.

The judge told Mulcaire he was "truly the lucky one", saying the full extent of his hacking was known at the time of his previous sentencing.

According to Mulcaire's notes, Miskiw tasked him 1,500 times, Thurlbeck 261 times and Weatherup 157 times, the court heard.

Mr Justice Saunders told them: "All the defendants that I have to sentence, save for Mr Mulcaire are distinguished journalists who had no need to behave as they did to be successful.

"They all achieved a great deal without resorting to the unlawful invasion of other people's privacy. Those achievements will now count for nothing."

After sentencing, David Cameron said: "It's right that justice should be done and no-one is above the law."

Eight of the 11 jurors who heard the case returned to court to hear the verdicts.

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