Former features editor of Rupert Murdoch’s ‘News of the World’ sentenced over hacking

The court was told that hacking was widespread in the newsroom for years before Stenson, under pressure from the then News of the World editor Andy Coulson, brought it to the features department.

By: Press Trust of India | London | Updated: July 6, 2015 9:56 pm
rupert murdoch, rupert murdoch case, murdoch scandal, rupert murdoch phone hacking, new corp phone hacking, murdoch phone hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World. (Source: Reuters)

The former features editor of Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World was on Tuesday sentenced to four-month suspended jail for his part in a rampant phone-hacking scandal that sank the 168-year-old tabloid in 2011.

Jules Stenson had pleaded guilty in December 2014 to a conspiracy to hack phones and intercept voicemails.

The 49-year-old is the ninth and final journalist from the erstwhile weekly to be convicted for phone hacking.

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Justice Saunders also sentenced him to 200 hours of community service, a 5,000-pound fine for conspiring to hack phones, and ordered him to pay 18,000 pounds in legal costs.

Stenson was charged with plotting to hack phones between January 1, 2003 and January 26, 2007.

The father-of-three broke down in the dock when he heard he would not be going to jail and thanked the judge before he left court.

Outside, he apologised to the victims saying: “It was wrong and it should never have happened.”

“It would be quite wrong for me to say that, as it has gone on so long and public interest is less, those convicted at the end of the series of trials should receive shorter sentences than those who were arrested earlier and sentenced in a blaze of publicity,” Justice Saunders said.

The court was told that hacking was widespread in the newsroom for years before Stenson, under pressure from the then News of the World editor Andy Coulson, brought it to the features department.

Coulson, a former editor who served as Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief, was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison.

The July 2011 revelation that the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid had hacked into the voicemails of a teenage murder victim as well as celebrities, politicians and the royal family rocked UK’s media, political and police establishments.

Following the disclosure, Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old newspaper. His News Corporation cooperated with the police investigation that saw dozens of his staff arrested.

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