British newspaper the News of the World said that it had dismissed its assistant editor for news, Ian Edmondson, after finding “material evidence” linking him to allegations that the newspaper illegally intercepted celebrities’ telephone messages.
The newspaper’s parent company, News International, said in a statement that it had “informed the police, handed over the material it has found and will give its full cooperation.” Mr. Edmondson had already been suspended after a court document surfaced showing that the name “Ian” had been scrawled on notes taken by an investigator convicted in the hacking scandal.
Mr. Edmondson has denied doing anything wrong.
The paper which has said for months that only one of its reporters was involved in the hacking did not say what evidence it was referring to?.
Scotland Yard, which some have criticized for what they called a lax investigation, said it would reopen its own inquiries, saying it had “received significant new information relating to allegations of phone hacking at The News of the World in 2005/06.” The Crown Prosecution Service also recently said it would expand its review of evidence gathered by the police to include any “recent or new substantive allegations.”
The new developments come the week after Andy Coulson, the editor of The News of the World from 2003 to 2007, resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications, saying continued speculation about his alleged role in the affair made it impossible for him to do his job.
In 2007, The News of the World’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and a private investigator named Glenn Mulcaire were convicted and jailed for illegally intercepting phone messages of members of the Royal household. Soon afterwards, Mr. Coulson stepped down as editor, saying that he had known nothing about the hacking but that he took responsibility for it nonetheless.
Mr. Coulson was hired several months later by David Cameron the British prime minister and followed him into government after last spring’s national elections.
Executives at News International and The News of the World have always said that the hacking had been limited to one “rogue reporter” and that the case was closed with Mr. Goodman’s jailing. But those assertions began to unravel eighteen months ago, when the newspaper The Guardian published a series of articles alleging that hacking had been widespread at the newspaper and revealing that a number of politicians, celebrities and other public figures had had their messages intercepted.
Then, last fall, The New York Times Magazine published an article quoting a former reporter and an unnamed former editor at The News of the World saying that Mr. Coulson knew about the hacking. The paper also described how the police had limited their investigation to the role of Mr. Goodman and Mr. Mulcaire, failing to interview other editors and reporters at the tabloid.
The police opened a new investigation, but then closed it, saying that the News International employees they interviewed had denied being involved or given noncommittal answers.
A number of people who believed their phones had been hacked including the actress Sienna Miller have sued News International. Much of the new material emerging in the case, culled from Mr. Mulcaire’s notebooks, is coming from court papers connected to those lawsuits.
The police have been criticized over matter the for having failed to conduct a proper inquiry.
“It’s a scandal that it is only through the civil actions that people are bringing that the Met are being forced to act,” using the abbreviation for Scotland Yard’s more formal name.