(Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said there should be an official inquiry into a phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News International which has prompted national outrage.
The scandal comes at a time when parent firm News Corp is seeking to take over UK pay-TV firm BSkyB in its biggest ever acquisition worth approximately $14 billion.
Here is a timeline of events in the long-running scandal:
2000 - Rebekah Wade is appointed editor of Britain’s best-selling Sunday tabloid News of the World. She begins a controversial campaign to name and shame alleged pedophiles, leading to some alleged offenders being terrorized by angry mobs, and also campaigns for public access to the Sex Offenders Register, which eventually comes into law as “Sarah’s Law.”
2002 - Teen-ager Milly Dowler disappears in Walton on Thames, Surrey in March. Her remains are found in September.
2003 - Wade becomes editor of daily tabloid The Sun, sister paper to the News of the World. She tells a parliamentary committee her newspaper has paid police for information although News International later says this is not company practice.
November 2005 - News of the World publishes story on Prince William’s knee injury. This prompts complaints by royal staff members about voicemail messages being intercepted. The complaints spark a police inquiry.
January 2007 — The News of the World’s royal affairs editor Clive Goodman is jailed for four months.
— Goodman listened to voicemail messages left for the press secretary of Prince Charles and also for two officials who worked for his sons, princes William and Harry.
— His accomplice, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, is given a six-month prison term. Goodman and Mulcaire admitted in November 2006 to plotting to unlawfully intercept communications while Mulcaire also pleaded guilty to five other charges of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages.
— After the two were sentenced, News of the World editor Andy Coulson resigns, saying he took “ultimate responsibility.”
May 2007 - Andy Coulson becomes the Conservative Party’s director of communications under leader David Cameron.
June 2009 - Rebekah Wade becomes CEO of News International. Wade marries Charlie Brooks and becomes Rebekah Brooks.
July 2009 - The Guardian newspaper says News of the World reporters, with the knowledge of senior staff, had illegally accessed messages from the mobile phones of celebrities and politicians while Coulson was editor.
— Actors Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, Australian model Elle Macpherson and former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott were among those targeted, the Guardian says.
September 2009 - Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones and previously the executive chairman of Murdoch’s newspaper arm in Britain, tells a committee of legislators any problems with phone hacking was limited to one, already well-publicized case, reiterating what he told the committee in 2007. He said they had carried out a wide review and found no new evidence.
February 2010 - The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee says in a report it is “inconceivable” that managers at the News of the World did not know about the practice, which the legislators said was more widespread than the Sunday newspaper had previously admitted.
September 2010 - MPs ask parliament’s standards watchdog to begin a new investigation into the phone hacking allegations surrounding the News of the World and its former editor Andy Coulson, by then Prime Minister David Cameron’s media chief.
— The cross-party Committee on Standards and Privileges will also look at whether the tabloid’s journalists tried to access MPs’ private messages on their mobile phones.
— Pressure for a new investigation grows after the New York Times had suggested News of the World reporters “routinely” sought to hack phones, often with the help of private investigators.
January 2011 - British police open a new investigation into allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World. Police had said in July 2009 there was no need for a probe into the hacking claims.
— The News of the World announces it has sacked senior editor Ian Edmondson after an internal inquiry.
— Andy Coulson resigns as Cameron’s communications chief amid the allegations of phone hacking.
April 2011 - News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and Edmondson are arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept mobile phone messages. They are released on bail. The News of the World admits its role in the phone hacking.
June 2011 - Levi Bellfield is found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
July 2011 - A lawyer for Milly Dowler’s family, says he learned from police that the schoolgirl’s voicemail messages had been hacked while police were searching for her.
— On July 5, News International says that new information has been given to police. The BBC says the material related to emails appearing to show payments were made to police for information and were authorized by Coulson.
— Relatives of victims from London’s 7/7 bombings in 2005 say police have told them their voicemail messages may have been intercepted by the Sunday paper.
Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit