Five men and one woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
By Rob Cooper, Daily Mail
13 March 2012
Rebekah Brooks and her millionaire husband were today among six people held in the latest phone hacking arrests.
Mrs Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie were arrested at their home in Chipping Norton in a series of dawn raids by Metropolitan Police officers.
All of the individuals were being held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Officers are searching several addresses after dawn raids in London, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Hertfordshire, Scotland Yard said.
Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief-executive was questioned by police investigating phone hacking allegations for nine-hours last July before being released on bail.
She turned up for a pre-arranged appointment just days after she had stepped down from her role within Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire.
Eton-educated Charlie Brooks is an author who married Rebekah in 2009. He became a trainer after an injury ended his hopes of becoming a jockey.
Today officers from Operation Weeting – the inquiry into voicemail interceptions – said they consulted the Crown Prosecution Service before carrying out the operation.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police have today arrested six people at addresses in London, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Hertfordshire.
‘The co-ordinated arrests were made between approximately 5am and 7am this morning by officers from Operation Weeting, the MPS inquiry into the phone-hacking of voicemail boxes.
‘All six – five men and one woman – were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.
‘A number of addresses connected to the arrests are being searched.’
The people arrested are a 43-year-old woman from Oxfordshire, a 49-year-old man from Oxfordshire, a 39-year-old man from Hampshire, a 46-year-old man from West London, a 38-year-old man from Hertfordshire and a 48-year-old man from East London.
It is the biggest individual round of arrests under Operation Weeting. Previously 23 people have been held and released on bail.
Operation Weeting, the phone hacking probe, is being run alongside two linked investigations.
Operation Elveden is investigating alleged corrupt payments two police officers while Operation Tuleta is looking into allegations of computer hacking.
UK PHONE HACKING PROBE TIMELINE
2007: January 26 – The News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, is jailed for four months and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire receives a six-month sentence after they admit intercepting voicemail messages on royal aides’ phones. The paper’s editor, Andy Coulson, resigns,
2009: July 9 – The Guardian reports that the News of the World’s publisher has paid over £1 million to settle cases that threatened to reveal evidence of its journalists’ alleged involvement in phone hacking.
Scotland Yard says it will not be carrying out a new investigation into the allegations, but the Crown Prosecution Service announces a review of material provided by the police in 2006.
2010: February 24 – A Culture, Media and Sport Committee report finds no evidence that Mr Coulson knew phone hacking was taking place at the News of the World, but says it is ‘inconceivable’ that no-one apart from Goodman was aware of it.
May 11 – Mr Coulson becomes head of the new coalition Government’s media operation after Mr Cameron enters 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister.
September 5 – The New York Times publishes an article which claims Mr Coulson knew his staff were carrying out illegal phone hacking. The story also raises questions about how vigorously Scotland Yard pursued the case.
2011: January 21 – Mr Coulson announces he is standing down as Downing Street communications chief, saying the claims about illegal eavesdropping under his editorship was making his job impossible.
January 26 – Scotland Yard launches a fresh inquiry into the phone hacking controversy, called Operation Weeting, after receiving ‘significant new information’ from News International, which publishes the News of the World.
April 8 – News International admits liability and apologises “unreservedly” to a number of public figures whose phones were hacked.
July 4 – The Guardian reports that the News of the World hacked the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler after she went missing in 2002.
July 6 – Mr Cameron announces a public inquiry into the scandal. Rupert Murdoch describes the phone hacking allegations as ‘deplorable and unacceptable’ but backs Rebekah Brooks to continue as News International chief executive.
July 7 – News International chairman James Murdoch announces he is closing the News of the World.
July 8 – Mr Coulson is arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption and held for questioning before being released on bail.
July 14 – Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis is arrested on suspicion of phone hacking, putting Scotland Yard under pressure to explain why it employed him as a PR consultant in 2009-10.
July 15 – Mrs Brooks resigns as chief executive of News International and is arrested two days later on suspicion of phone hacking before being bailed.
July 18 – Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates stands down following criticism of his handling of a review of the initial probe into phone hacking at the News of the World.
Former News of the World journalist and phone-hacking whistle-blower Sean Hoare is found dead at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire.
July 19 – Rupert and James Murdoch, along with Mrs Brooks, give evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
September 6 – The News of the World’s former editor Colin Myler and ex-legal manager Tom Crone tell the Culture, Media and Sport Committee they informed James Murdoch in 2008 about an email that proved hacking went beyond a single ‘rogue reporter’ on the News of the World. Mr Murdoch denies their claim.
November 8 – The BBC reports that the News of the World paid private detective Derek Webb to spy on Prince William, the parents of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe and a host of other high-profile individuals.
November 14 – The Leveson Inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, starts hearing evidence about the culture, practice and ethics of the British press.
December 12 – A lawyer for Scotland Yard tells the Leveson Inquiry it is ‘unlikely’ that News International journalists erased messages from Milly Dowler’s phone three days after she went missing in 2002, contrary to the Guardian’s original report in July.
2012: January 6 – Mrs Brooks’s former personal assistant, Cheryl Carter, is arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice and questioned before being released on bail.
January 19 – The High Court hears that dozens of celebrities and politicians, including Jude Law and Lord Prescott, have now settled damages claims over the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
January 23 – A report reveals a News of the World journalist told police in April 2002 that they got Milly Dowler’s mobile phone number and pin from other schoolchildren.
January 26 – Former defence secretary Liam Fox said attempts were made to hack his phone, though not while he was a government minister, and says he has met with officers from Scotland Yard’s hacking inquiry Operation Weeting
January 28 – Four former and current Sun journalists and a serving Metropolitan Police officer are arrested over alleged illegal police payments. Senior Sun employees Chris Pharo, 42, and Mike Sullivan along with former executives Fergus Shanahan, 57, and Graham Dudman, are detained by officers from Operation Elveden. They are later bailed.
February 2 – Labour MP Tom Watson says he has received a letter from Scotland Yard informing him that police are investigating allegations of email hacking at The Times, after the newspaper admitted one of its reporters tried to access a private account. The Times named Lancashire detective Richard Horton as the author of the award-winning NightJack blog in June 2009 after the High Court refused to grant him anonymity. Editor James Harding later told the Leveson Inquiry that one of his reporters – named as Patrick Foster – was issued with a formal written warning for professional misconduct for gaining unauthorised access to Mr Horton’s email account.
February 7 – The Metropolitan Police force admits at the High Court that it failed to warn victims and potential victims of phone hacking at the time of its original investigation into the scandal.
February 8 – Steve Coogan and Paul Gascoigne are among 15 phone-hacking damages claims which settle close to trial. The payments mean 54 of the original 60 cases have been settled. Five more are due to be heard later, while singer Charlotte Church and her parents have refused to settle, paving the way for a landmark trial on February 27.
February 11 – Eight people, including five employees from The Sun, a serving member of the Armed Forces, a Ministry of Defence employee and a Surrey Police officer, are arrested in connection with the probe into inappropriate payments to police and public officials.
Police confirm Operation Elveden has widened to include the investigation of evidence uncovered in relation to suspected corruption involving public officials who are not police officers.
March 13: Six people are held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.