UK phone-hacking whistleblower found dead: reports

LONDON Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:38pm EDT

Former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare is seen in this undated handout picture released on July 18, 2011. One of the sources for early newspaper stories on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal was Hoare. British media said he was found dead at his home on Monday, but police did not believe the death was suspicious. REUTERS/The Sun/Handout

Former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare is seen in this undated handout picture released on July 18, 2011. One of the sources for early newspaper stories on the News of the World phone-hacking scandal was Hoare. British media said he was found dead at his home on Monday, but police did not believe the death was suspicious.

Credit: Reuters/The Sun/Handout

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LONDON (Reuters) - A former journalist who told the New York Times that phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World was more extensive than the paper had acknowledged at the time, has been found dead, media reported on Monday.

Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Sean Hoare, a former show business reporter at the News International paper, part of News Corp, had also told the BBC he was asked by former editor Andy Coulson to tap into phones.

Coulson has denied being aware of any wrongdoing at the paper.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing," Hertfordshire police said in a statement. They would not confirm the identity.

British media reported that Hoare, who was dismissed for drink and drugs problems, had been found at his home in Watford, north of London.

Coulson was taken on by David Cameron as his communications chief in 2007, before he became prime minister.

Coulson quit the paper in 2007 after one of its reporters was jailed for secretly listening to phone messages of royal household staff to get scoops on the Queen's family.

Coulson quit his job with Cameron in January this year.

A story in the New York Times last September said the practice of phone hacking was widespread, and Hoare told the BBC the former editor had asked him to snoop on phone messages.

(Editing by Maria Golovnina)

(Reporting by Avril Ormsby.)

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Comments (18)
goose129 wrote:
Why is this not surprising?

Jul 18, 2011 6:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
morristhewise wrote:
Adding a dead and possibly murdered key witness to the scandal spices up the story. The doctor doing the autopsy cannot be trusted. Unexplained deaths and mysterious suicides have become common in a world where murderers can commit perfect crimes.

Jul 18, 2011 6:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Marcuscassius wrote:
Connecting the thought of Murdoch with murder = not so difficult. If the guy could have proved what he said, Murdoch could have been directly implicated. Watch and see if some patsy doesn’t step forward. There’s guys that would take a fall like that if they knew their families would be rich for it.

Jul 18, 2011 7:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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