London: A former news editor at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct tabloid News of the World on Friday admitted to hacking phones of celebrities such as Jude Law and Paul McCartney while at the newspaper, becoming the eighth person to be convicted in connection with the case.
Ian Edmondson, 45, is likely to receive a custodial sentence after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey court in London.
Edmondson illegally intercepted the voicemails of two Home Secretaries, ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller.
He had been in the dock at the start of the eight-month trial which ended with his former boss Andy Coulson being jailed for 18 months but was excused due to ill health in December 2013. A hearing in July 2014 established that Edmondson was fit to continue.
He has now admitted conspiring with colleagues and private detective Glenn Mulcaire to intercept private voicemails between October 3, 2000 and August 9, 2006. During the phone hacking trial, it emerged Edmondson had also hacked the voicemails of Coulson and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.
His decision to plead guilty means that eight of the 10 so far charged and dealt with for phone hacking at the NoW have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
Edmondson worked for the paper in the 1990s, and then rejoined the tabloid’s news desk in 2004, becoming news editor in 2005, a position he held until he was suspended in December 2010 and subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2011.
He was in charge when Mulcaire and the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman were arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of hacking. His suspension four years later came after three emails implicating him in Mulcaire’s hacking came to light.
These suggested that hacking was not confined to Goodman, who the company had claimed was operating as a single “rogue reporter” and led to the launch of Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard’s phone hacking investigation in January 2011.