Key reporter claims dossier ‘was ignored’ by executives

A KEY phone-hacking suspect has claimed that members of the News of the World management ignored a dossier of evidence which he compiled and which he believes could have saved the paper.

Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck has said that he handed Tom Crone, who was News International’s legal manager, and Colin Myler, the editor of the now defunct title, a “substantial amount of evidence” earlier this year.

Mr Thurlbeck, who was arrested in April, was first implicated in the phone-hacking scandal in July 2009 when it was revealed that the News of the World had secretly settled with phone-hacking victim Gordon Taylor, the English football players’ union boss and that a transcript of phone messages hacked by the newspaper had been headed “For Neville”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But, now Mr Thurlbeck, writing in the industry journal Press Gazette, says that his dossier, which he describes as the “script that never made it to the publisher” would have proved that the “For Neville” e-mail was not for him.

He writes: “The Gordon Taylor phone-hacking culprits would have been identified and culled.

The Guardian investigators would have rested on their well deserved laurels. No remorseless barrage from parliament. No renewed police investigation. No torrent of arrests. No cataclysmic revelations.

“And for better or for worse – I’ll leave you to decide which – a 168-year-old newspaper and all who worked for it, would have survived. Cleansed and chastened.”

ANGUS HOWARTH