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Eighth reporter convicted of phone hacking

A FORMER news editor was warned he could face jail after he became the eighth person to be convicted of the phone hacking plot at the News of the World.

Ian Edmondson, 45, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to conspiring with private eye Glenn Mulcaire and NotW colleagues to hack a host of celebrities, sports personalities, politicians and even royalty between October 3 2000 and August 9, 2006.

The married journalist had been dropped as a defendant in the original hacking trial of ex-editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks in December last year, after the trial judge deemed him "unfit" to continue.

His guilty plea came as he faced a re-trial at the Old Bailey since Mr Justice Saunders had deemed him "fit" again in July, it can now be reported.

During the original eight-month trial, jurors were told how Edmondson (inset) had worked as an executive on the newsdesk - the "engine room of the newsroom" - since 2005.

He was suspended in 2010 after three emails emerged implicating him in the hacking conspiracy and he was sacked for "gross misconduct" a year later.

After he joined the now defunct tabloid, Edmondson had been keen to terminate Mulcaire's £100,000 a year contract, but in 2005 he signed off its renewal once he realised its value, the court heard.

In all, he was responsible for 23.9pc of the newsdesk orders to Mulcaire, including ones relating to Tessa Jowell, Freddie Windsor and Lord Prescott, according to an analysis of detailed notes kept by the private eye.

In 2006, he received an incriminating email from Coulson ordering him to "do his phone" in an apparent reference to the celebrity Calum Best.

At yesterday's hearing, prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron QC outlined how Edmondson had become involved in the "systematic phone hacking" at the NotW.

Mr Justice Saunders warned him that he could face jail despite admitting his part in the conspiracy.

Adjourning the sentencing for reports on a date to be fixed, he remanded the married journalist on conditional bail but the judge repeatedly cautioned him "not to read anything into that".

Irish Independent