Sunday 17 December 2017

Ex-editor released on bail as probe deepens

Former 'News of the World' editor Andy Coulson at a police station in
south London after being arrested yesterday
Former 'News of the World' editor Andy Coulson at a police station in south London after being arrested yesterday

Tom Morgan in London

Former Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson was last night released on police bail after being questioned over the phone hacking scandal and alleged corrupt payments to police officers.

Ex-royal editor of the 'News of the World' Clive Goodman (53) was also quizzed at a separate police station over claims officers were bribed.

Both men were released on police bail until October.

As Mr Coulson (43) left Lewisham police station in south-east London, he said: "There is an awful lot I would like to say, but I can't at this time."

Mr Coulson, of Forest Hill, south London, was arrested at 10.30am on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and alleged corruption, and released shortly before 7.30pm.

Mr Goodman was held over corruption allegations in a dawn swoop on his Surrey home.


He and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in January 2007 for hacking into royal voicemail messages, including some left by Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, while working for the 'News of the World'.

It is expected further arrests of senior 'News of the World' figures will follow.

The arrest of Mr Coulson comes eight months after he last spoke to police over allegations of phone hacking while he was editing the Sunday tabloid.

It puts pressure on British Prime Minister David Cameron, who appointed Mr Coulson to his position in Downing Street, despite his association with the phone hacking scandal.

Mr Coulson resigned from the tabloid after the conviction of Goodman and Mulcaire. And he resigned from his job at 10 Downing Street in January this year, amid allegations he knew about the extent of phone hacking during his editorship.

His arrest was conducted by officers from Operation Weeting, the inquiry into phone hacking at the 'News of the World', and Operation Elveden, the investigation into allegations that a handful of police officers were illegally paid £100,000 (€112,000) by the newspaper during Mr Coulson's editorship.

While he was being questioned, Mr Coulson's home in Dulwich, south London, was searched by detectives who left with his computer.

Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Goodman was not aware he was going to be arrested and officers immediately began a search of his home.

Later, detectives searched the offices of the 'Daily Star Sunday' newspaper, where Goodman (53) has been working recently.

Officers left with a disc containing all of Goodman's computer activity, it was reported.

Both arrests came after News International, the parent company of the 'News of the World', handed a series of emails to police in June which allegedly detail illegal payments made to Scotland Yard officers.

The officers are alleged to have been paid a total of £100,000 in the period from January 2003, when Mr Coulson became the editor.

It is thought the payments were made in exchange for sensitive information.

Detectives in Scotland Yard's Department of Professional Standards are working to identify the officers.

Irish Independent

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