NotW editor last to be sentenced


Published: Monday 6th July 2015 by The News Editor

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The final chapter in the News of the World phone hacking saga will play out at the Old Bailey today when the last journalist to be convicted of his role will be sentenced.

Features editor Jules Stenson is the eighth man to face jail over the “dark art” which spawned a succession of sensational scoops in the naughties but led to the Sunday tabloid’s spectacular downfall in 2011.

Last December, the 49-year-old from Battersea, south west London, pleaded guilty to plotting to phone hack between January 1 2003 and January 26 2007 in the wake of a string of his former colleagues’ convictions.

But he had to wait on bail for the conclusion of the trial of his co-accused, deputy editor Neil Wallis, before finding out whether he would be jailed for his involvement which ended eight years ago.

Last week, Wallis, 64, from Chiswick, west London, who was Andy Coulson’s right-hand man between 2003 and 2007, broke down in tears as a jury cleared him.

Out of a dozen News of the World (NotW) staff charged with phone hacking, eight were convicted and three cleared following high profile trials.

The trials of Wallis and his former boss Coulson had hinged on the star witness evidence of ex-features writer Dan Evans, who had admitted hacking hundreds of phones during his time at the NotW.

Jurors heard how Stenson poached Evans from the Sunday Mirror after he promised to land big stories cheaply through phone hacking.

He went to work under the features editor in January 2005 on a salary of £53,000.

On his first day, Evans told how he came armed with a suggestion for an investigative story about a soldier selling a Browning gun but was “crestfallen” after being taken into a meeting room and handed a contacts list to work through.

Among the names were Heather McCartney, Esther Rantzen, Chris Evans, Ed Balls, Ronnie Biggs, Elle Macpherson, the father of soap star Jessie Wallace, Michael Parkinson, John Leslie, Geri Halliwell and Michael Jackson.

Asked how many of the numbers he hacked, Evans said there were 80-100 names on the list and the features department was spending a “couple of grand a week” on data, including phone numbers.

Evans told the court how he got the story about Layer Cake star Sienna Miller’s brief affair with Daniel Craig after Stenson told him he may as well “jump off a cliff” if he did not come up with a big story.

He listened to a voicemail Miller left Craig at the Groucho Club ending “I love you”, while she was dating fellow Hollywood star Jude Law, the court had heard.

In 2009, Evans was caught red handed by Miller’s stepmother, the designer Kelly Hoppen, who sued after she found her voicemails had been accessed.

Following the first marathon hacking trial last year, Coulson, 47, from Kent, was found guilty and jailed for 18 months.

Royal editor Clive Goodman had already been convicted of hacking in 2006, along with private detective Glenn Mulcaire, and served a jail sentence.

Evans, 39, of Kilburn, north London, was handed a 10-month jail term suspended for 12 months plus 200 hours of community service.

News editor Greg Miskiw, 65, from Leeds, and chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 53, of Esher, Surrey, were each jailed for six months after pleading guilty.

News editor James Weatherup, 59, of Brentwood in Essex, who also admitted his part, was jailed for four months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

Mulcaire, 44, of Sutton, south London, was handed a six-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, plus 200 hours of unpaid community work after pleading guilty to hacking for the second time.

News editor Ian Edmondson, 45, who was jailed for eight months, changed his plea after being dropped from the original hacking trial on health grounds.

Deputy editor Wallis, retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner and ex-editor Rebekah Brooks were cleared of involvement in the plot.

Published: Monday 6th July 2015 by The News Editor

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