News of the World whistleblower found dead


Sean Hoare was first journalist to allege Andy Coulson, the arrested former News of the World editor knew of hacking, and now he’s been found dead. Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter, worked at the paper with Coulson before being terminated over alcohol and drug issues.

Police would not confirm his identity to the UK Guardian, said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [7/18] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after. The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

Hoare first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World. He told the paper that not only did Coulson know of the phone hacking, but that he actively encouraged his staff to intercept the phone calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.

In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged that he was personally asked by his then-editor, Coulson, to tap into phones. Hoare, a one-time close friend of Coulson’s, told the Times the two men first worked together at the Sun, where, Hoare said, he played tape recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At the News of the World, Hoare said he continued to inform Coulson of his activities. Coulson “actively encouraged me to do it”, Hoare said.

Hoare returned to the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the News of the World were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals in exchange for payments to police officers. He said journalists were able to use a technique called “pinging” which measured the distance between mobile handsets and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.

Hoare gave further details about the use of “pinging” to the Guardian last week. He described how reporters would ask a news desk executive to obtain the location of a target: “Within 15 to 30 minutes someone on the news desk would come back and say ‘right that’s where they are.'”

He said: “You’d just go to the news desk and they’d just come back to you. You don’t ask any questions. You’d consider it a job done. The chain of command is one of absolute discipline and that’s why I never bought into it…”

He also admitted he had had problems with drinking and drugs and had been in rehab. “But that’s irrelevant,” he said. “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.”

Hoare named a private investigator who he said had links with the News of the World, adding: “He may want to talk now because I think what you’ll find now is a lot of people are going to want to cover their arse.”

RBR-TVBR observation: What a mess. We assume the autopsy will eventually detail the cause of death, but to rule it out being suspicious is a bit premature. This ever-widening crevasse is now engulfing the UK government as well as News Corp. He obviously had more of a story to tell, so who knows who else would have been implicated. It seems the police and the UK Government needs  to look themselves in the mirror a bit before pointing too many fingers at News Corp. at this point.