A letter read out by The Sun’s agony aunt Deirdre Sanders to Rupert Murdoch revealed how staff arrests have resulted in suicide attempts, counselling and relationship break-downs.
The letter, written by the wife of an arrested journalist, was read out at the March meeting between the News Corp chairman and Sun journalists, the audio of which was today published by investigative journalism website Exaro.
In the letter the wife told Murdoch she had “always admired” him, but now felt “betrayed”, “abandoned and isolated”.
“Just over a year ago, lying in bed asleep, the phone rang,” the letter said.
“It was the Met Police asking how to find my home, as they were coming to arrest my husband.
“I handed him the phone. I felt sick. I’d recently come out of… hospital having had a heart operation. I knew I had to keep calm, but didn’t know what to do.
“My husband went to let the police in. There were ten of them. I heard them charge him with conspiracy and corruption. It all felt surreal.”
She went on to say how much her husband had given to the company and felt he had been arrested for “doing his job”. She said he “was being arrested at the hands of the company whom he’d worked so hard for”.
The letter said that after the journalist had been taken away, while she was “comforting my two-year-old grand-daughter”, police searched the house for evidence, taking all old video tapes, a bag of expenses sheets and letters to the editor.
“Seven hours later, after most of the TV crews had gone, he came home shattered by the unending questions, as well as by the betrayal at the hands of the MSC,” it said.
“Many other partners had their underwear drawers rifled, cereal boxes emptied in front of their children, neighbours blocked in by a seemingly endless supply of police cars. A disgusting show of bullying. None of our property has been returned.
“So, time’s passed and we’ve been left in a horrible limbo. Our relationships are at breaking point, some of the kids who watched their dads dragged away are still in counselling.”
It added: “And one 15-year-old girl has had her hair fall out in clumps because of the stress. Characters have changed. There have been suicide attempts.
“For what? A hideous political game: for what end? To save News International’s integrity, put way before the well-being of its employees.
“They deserve better, these are… not the debris. They’ve been on the firing line, literally for you, and have loved every minute. These people will never come back, they’ve been lost forever.”
The letter said: “I’ve always admired you, and liked the fact that you had such a great family ethic.
“We’re the families who made the sacrifices that allowed our partners to give you the loyalty and respect you sought.
“The husbands, wives and children, not to mention parents and friends who are all affected by the work of the MSC [Management and Standards Committee], feel abandoned and isolated.
“These are men at the very top of their game who fear for their future. Their reputation’s destroyed, and their freedom, possibly about to be taken away. Can you tell us what happens next?”
Murdoch thanked Sanders for reading the letter, adding that he would “shove it down the throat of the company lawyers”.
“It’s a very, very moving letter,” he said. “Thank you very, very much, and I’m sorry it’s like this. Sorry.”