July 18th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

Phone-hacking whistle-blower found dead

One of the first journalists to go on the record and allege phone hacking at News of the World was found dead Monday, the British Press Association said.

Sean Hoare, a former News of the World employee, "was discovered at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire, after concerns were raised about his whereabouts," the press association said.

"The death is being treated as 'unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious,'" the report quoted Hertfordshire police as saying.

He had publicly accused the paper of phone-hacking and using "pinging" - a method of tracking someone's cell phone using technology that only police and security officials could access - according to the New York Times.

Hoare was one of the few sources who allowed his name to be used when speaking to the Times last year for an investigative report about allegations of phone-hacking by the British tabloid.

In his remarks, he specifically accused Andy Coulson - former editor of News of the World, who went on to become Prime  Minister David Cameron's communications director - of wrongdoing.

The Times described Hoare has a "onetime close friend of Coulson's."

"The two men first worked together at The Sun, where, Hoare said, he played tape recordings of hacked messages for Coulson," the Times wrote in its report last September.  "At News of the World, Hoare said he continued to inform Coulson of his pursuits. Coulson 'actively encouraged me to do it,' Hoare said."

The report added that Hoare said he was "fired during a period when he was struggling with drugs and alcohol.  He said he was now revealing his own use of the dark arts - which included breaking into the messages of celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham - because it was unfair for the paper to pin the blame solely on" one reporter who covered the royal family.

"Coulson declined to comment for this article but has maintained that he was unaware of the hacking," the report said.

Coulson worked for Cameron until the police launched their new phone-hacking investigation in January, then resigned, still protesting his innocence, but saying he had become a distraction for the prime minister.

Last week, the Times reported that Hoare, a former show-business reporter for News of the World, also described "pinging" by the newspaper.  "Pinging" is a term for locating a person using his or her cell phone number - something that only law enforcement and security officials are allowed to do, the paper reported.

Hoare "said that when he worked there, pinging cost the paper nearly $500 on each occasion," the Times reported.

A second former editor at the paper backed Hoare's account, speaking anonymously, the Times reported.

The Times reported that people on the police payroll were bribed to use the technology to pinpoint people's locations, according to the two former News of the World journalists.

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Filed under: Media • News of the World • United Kingdom
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Mmmmm

    Murdoch must have hooves for his feet...

    July 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tcaud

      One way or another, the man and his son must die. This cycle must end, before it gets us all.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. emma neal

    when are one of you news channel going to do a real story about this heat wave that is going on and all of the crops that are being lost. and what that is going to mean to all of us in the future? i think that we need to be hearing more about this and less about some of the other stories. this affects all of us. and its like none of you are even thinking about this or worried about it. people had better start being worried about where they're going to get their food in the future.
    plus all the food lost from the floods.

    July 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • emmas-a-dope

      Why don't you start your own news organization and then you can pick the stories that get run

      July 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Who Me

      Which flood? Which heat wave? Who's crops? I just got back from the supermarket. It was cool, dry, and the shelves were packed full

      July 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • emma's mom

      Or just click over to weather.com, honey.

      July 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Talgrath

      CNN has an article link on its home page about the heat wave and has had it front and center with photos several times, what more do you want?

      July 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    If anyone thinks for a second that his death is unrelated to the current News Corp/Scotland Yard/UK gov't scandal is unrelated – you seriously need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid; it's poisoned your ability to process what should be common sense. This is power protecting power and shows how truly evil these people are. THEY ALL LIE and now they've proven that they're willing to kill to protect themselves.

    July 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • getreal

      The fact that this clown had a serious drug and alcohol problem couldn't possibly be related to his death huh?

      July 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • getreal

      Scott you sound a bit paranoid. Is it time for your anti-delusional meds?

      July 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Scott Waddell

    Why is CNN ignoring the connection between Piers Morgan and the Mudoch/News of the World scandal? This selective journalism is no worse than Fox News' refusal to report on Murdoch's involvement...

    July 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Erik Petersons

    I think emma neal, the last one i see to post anything has the real!!!!story.I dont care about a stupid newspaper that is almost halfway across the world we need to b worry'n about our own here at home.I hear more about crap than anything, than whats going with our "( economical )? growth" i want to turn on CNN the channel, and hear about us and what we as people of our land need to do about our situation. Not about some crap u can find on the internet at anytime,isnt that one of the reasons for net

    July 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. We are Iran

    The attack on the press by the British and Amweican governments continues ... I assume "phone hacking" means they guessed someone voice mail password. Only here in Iran is that reason enough for the government to attack news organization, shutting down a newspaper, now killing a reporter. Welcome to Iran.

    July 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick K

    Two words, friends: Rupert Murdoch. Go watch "The Parallax View."

    July 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hahaha

    Conservatives. Got to love them! The moral majority strikes again.

    July 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trust Me!

    His thing was pinged + it ain't no accident! Should uh gotten on the alleged private plane w/ Casey.

    July 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Aejykh

    D reporters death was a sad one but hey! He shd hv known his life was in danger d moment he wanted he decided to snitch...power is highly involved here and i dont think they are done with d killing...

    July 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tcaud

      Indeed... it will be their own lives next.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    This is just an attempt by the left to quiet any voices that they disagree with.

    July 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Oh Mr. Magoo, The left did again.

      July 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Told You So!

    When, When are people going 2 realize that computer technology is the demise of this world?! Just saying!

    July 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BasedSatan

    Rupert 'Money Murder' Murdoch the don has arrived in the great land and you will repent lol you will not be forgiven for your sins. There will be no testifying in court. They gon find you! Who you gonna call? The police? HAAAHAAAHAAAHAAHAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAHHAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

    July 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Journeys

    Once again the majority of fools win! A man lost his life! Focus nuts Focus!

    July 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michael

    Maybe he couldn't face the scope and depth of what this meant for his colleagues whom he's known since the earliest days of his career. What happened, I blacked out for a literacy second.

    July 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
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