Guardian unconvinced by NoW denials: But no new evidence has emerged

The Guardian remains unconvinced by yesterday’s testimony from News of the Word editor Colin Myler, former editor Andy Coulson, head of legal Tom Crone and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner before MPs.

It was The Guardian which claimed phone hacking was more widespread at the paper than involving just jailed royals editor Clive Goodman. And it was the The Guardian which backed up its claims last week by producing two documents which emerged during Gordon Taylor’s privacy action against the News of the World last year.

They are an email transcript of bugged telephone conversations written up by a junior reporter and headed “This is for Neville” (chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck).

And a contract showing former assistant editor Greg Miskiw agreed to pay Glen Mulcaire, later jailed for his part in the NoW bugging scandal, for a story.

NoW execs stuck to their story that as far as they know – no-one else on the paper’s staff, other than Goodman, was involved in the bugging scandal. It seems that the junior reporter concerned was simply typing up tapes and unaware of the wider significance of what he was going.

The Guardian is today highly skeptical about the many denials made before the Commons culture committee yesterday:

Political commentator Michael White says the evidence session was: “a bit like the scene in Casablanca where Captain Renault closes Rick’s bar. ‘I’m shocked, I’m shocked to find gambling going on in here’…”

Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist behind the allegations against the NoW, said: “The News of the World has finally found a story it can’t crack. Its former and current editor, its managing editor and in-house lawyer took it in turns today to confess their failure to find answers to the most important questions which still surround the phone-hacking affair.”

It emerged yesterday that Thurlbeck said he does not recall seeing the incriminating email in which he was named, he said he does recall working on the story it related to, that the London newsdesk briefed him on that story. But the newsdesk individual concerned told Tom Crone he does not recall it either.

Adam Price MP asked questions about a 2006 NoW story which appeared to be based on a voicemail message left by Prince William on Prince Harry’s phone, which contained a verbatim account of the message.

Coulson and Crone both said they did not recall the story – which was bylined Thurlbeck and Goodman. Crone also pointed out that the story did not form part of the case against Goodman, because he was never accused of hacking the actual phones of the princes – only those of royal aides.

Presumably security would have been rather tighter on the phones of the princes themselves.

Press Gazette has been told that phone-hacking was rife throughout Fleet Street before the Goodman scandal.

But no hard-evidence was produced yesterday to prove that anyone other than Goodman and Mulcaire were involved in it at the NoW.

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