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November 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Neville Thurlbeck

A central figure in the News of the World telephone hacking scandal has acknowledged that Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks were kept in the dark about the hacking and that his own efforts to bring the matter to the attention of Brooks was thwarted by an unnamed superior. Writing in the journalism trade publication Press Gazette, Neville Thurlbeck, whose name was attached to a sheaf of incriminating transcribed voicemails (they were marked “For Neville”), claims that senior executives of News of the World, the newspaper’s chief lawyer, and its editor, each blocked his efforts to expose the illegal interception of voicemails of celebrities, politicians, and others by reporters. Thurlbeck claims that he compiled a dossier of evidence, together with recordings of phone calls with at least one other News of the World reporter, that, if acted upon, would have brought the matter to a head and prevented the subsequent demise of the tabloid and the incessant political backlash that continues to roil News International and its parent, News Corp. Although News of the World reporter Glenn Mulcaire, who was convicted in 2007 of phone hacking, later named Thurlbeck as the editor who had ordered him to hack into voicemails, senior News International executives were unaware “that one of the executives who initiated the hacking was Mulcaire’s very best friend and mentor and he was therefore unlikely to name him.” Thurlbeck maintains that he wrote to News of the World editor Colin Myler that the hacking “had long been known to be the work of a certain executive, who I shall not name here for legal reasons.” However, Thurlbeck wrote, Myler made no mention of the matter in his reply. Finally, Thurlbeck writes that he has offered to testify under oath — and implies that he is willing to name names — without asking for immunity from prosecution. “I stake my very liberty on the truth of what I say. That makes me a fool or an innocent man.”