The Guardian reveals a stunning development in the NOTW phone hacking aka MurdochGate case: "News of the World phone hacking whistleblower found dead: Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned. Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home." For now there appears to be no evidence of foul play... for now: "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing." Alas, as the full scale of this scandal unravels we are worried that this may be just the first of many tragic conclusions to what is rapidly becoming the biggest media scandal of the 21st century.
From The Guardian:
Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: "At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.
Hoare first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World.
He told that newspaper that not only did Coulson know of the phone-hacking, but that he actively encouraged his staff to intercept the phone calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.
In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged that he was personally asked by his then-editor, Coulson, to tap into phones. In an interview with the PM programme he said Coulson's insistence that he didn't know about the practice was "a lie, it is simply a lie".
At the time a Downing Street spokeswoman said Coulson totally and utterly denied the allegations and said he had "never condoned the use of phone-hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone-hacking took place".
Sean Hoare, a one-time close friend of Coulson's, told the New York Times the two men first worked together at the Sun, where, Hoare said, he played tape recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At the News of the World, Hoare said he continued to inform Coulson of his activities. Coulson "actively encouraged me to do it," Hoare said.