Timeline of UK phone hacking scandal
Rupert Murdoch, left, and son James Murdoch were called to testify before the Leveson Inquiry into journalistic ethics this week.
April 24th, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Timeline of UK phone hacking scandal

[Updated at 8 a.m. ET Thursday] Media magnate Rupert Murdoch admitted that there had been a "cover-up" of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized Thursday for not paying more attention to a scandal that has convulsed his media empire and rocked the British political establishment.

He testified Wednesday and Thursday at the Leveson Inquiry, an independent British inquiry prompted by illegal eavesdropping by his newspaper. His son, James Murdoch, a top executive in his father's News Corp. company, testified Tuesday.

The scandal has led to dozens of arrests on suspicion of criminal activity and forced News Corp. to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation to the victims of phone hacking.

The following is a timeline of the scandal:

November 2005

- News of the World prints a story about Britain's Prince William injuring his knee, prompting royal officials to complain to police about probable voice mail hacking.

January 2007

- News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are convicted of conspiracy to hack into phone voice mails of royals and are jailed. Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, claims to be unaware of hacking but still resigns.

July 2007

- Goodman and Mulcaire sue the tabloid for wrongful dismissal. Goodman receives £80,000 (currently $129,190), and Mulcaire receives an undisclosed amount.

- Also in July, Coulson is hired as director of communications for Conservative party leader David Cameron, who becomes prime minister in May 2010.

June 2008

- News Group Newspapers pays a £700,000 (nearly $1.13 million) settlement to soccer executive Gordon Taylor, whose phone was hacked by Mulcaire.

November 2009

- Britain's Press Complaints Commission releases a report concluding that there is no evidence of continued phone hacking.

March 2010

- A celebrity public relations agent agrees to drop his lawsuit against News of the World for a payment of more than £1 million ($1.6 million).

September 2010

- Former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare alleges that phone hacking was a common practice at the paper and encouraged by Coulson.

January 21, 2011

- Coulson resigns as Cameron's spokesman because of coverage of the phone hacking scandal.

January 26, 2011

- London's Metropolitan Police launch a new investigation into voice mail hacking allegations at News of the World.

April 5, 2011

- News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former editor Ian Edmondson are arrested on suspicion of intercepting voice mail messages.

April 10, 2011

- News of the World officially apologizes for hacking into voice mails from 2004 to 2006 and sets up a compensation system for unnamed victims.

April 14, 2011

- Senior News of the World journalist James Weatherup is arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept communications.

June 2011

- Actress Sienna Miller settles with News of the World for £100,000 ($161,000) in damages and legal fees.

- Freelance journalist Terenia Taras is arrested on suspicion of phone hacking.

July 4, 2011

- It is revealed that News of the World journalists possibly hacked into then-missing teenager Milly Dowler's voice mail and deleted messages to free space, causing her parents to believe she was still alive.

July 6, 2011

- Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., the parent company of News of the World owner News International, promises full cooperation with the investigation and calls the accusations against News of the World "deplorable and unacceptable."

July 7, 2011

- News International announces that the July 10 edition of News of the World will be the paper's last.

July 8, 2011

- Coulson is arrested. Goodman, the paper's former royal correspondent who served a four-month jail term in 2007, also is arrested on corruption allegations.

July 10, 2011

- The 168-year-old News of the World publishes its final edition with the headline "Thank you and goodbye."

- Rupert Murdoch flies into London to take personal charge of the crisis.

July 12, 2011

- Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown accuses other News International papers of illegally obtaining private information about him.

- British lawmakers ask Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International, to testify before them.

July 13, 2011

- News Corp. withdraws its bid to take over British satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

- UK Prime Minister Cameron announces a wide-ranging public inquiry into the British media.

July 14, 2011

- The FBI launches an investigation into allegations that News Corp. employees or associates hacked into the phones of 9/11 victims, a federal source says.

- Rupert and James Murdoch agree to give evidence to a committee of British lawmakers.

July 15, 2011

- Brooks resigns as chief executive of News International.

- Les Hinton resigns as head of the Dow Jones division of the News Group Corp. and publisher of The Wall Street Journal; he was Brooks' predecessor at News International.

- Rupert Murdoch visits Dowler's family.

July 16, 2011

Rupert Murdoch apologizes to the British public with full-page advertisements in seven national newspapers.

July 17, 2011

- Brooks is arrested on charges of suspicion of corruption and conspiring to intercept communications. She is released on bail after questioning.

- Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson - who leads London's police and is the UK's highest-ranking policeman - resigns. It comes after revelations that former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis later became a communications consultant for police.

July 18, 2011

- Assistant police Commissioner John Yates, who ruled two years ago that there was no reason to pursue an investigation into phone hacking by journalists, resigns.

- The hacker collective LulzSec claims credit for hacking the website of News Corp. paper The Sun. It redirects those on the paper's website to a false story claiming Murdoch had been found dead in his garden.

- Home Secretary Theresa May announces that London's police department will be investigated for corruption by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

July 19, 2011

- Murdoch, his son James and Brooks testify before Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

July 21, 2011

- Colin Myler and Tom Crone, former top executives of News of the World, accuse James Murdoch of giving "mistaken" evidence to a parliamentary committee about a settlement to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association.

August 18, 2011

- A Metropolitan Police detective involved in the investigation of the phone hacking case is arrested on suspicion of leaking information to the media. The 51-year-old officer is not identified by name.

August 20, 2011

- Mulcaire is ordered by the court to name who hired him to hack the phones of supermodel Elle Macpherson; politician Simon Hughes; public relations expert Max Clifford; sports agent Sky Andrew; Professional Footballers Association legal adviser Jo Armstrong; and Taylor.

September 6, 2011

- Parliament's Culture Media and Sport Committee holds further hearings into the UK hacking scandal.

September 14, 2011

- Dozens of celebrities, including Hugh Grant and J.K. Rowling, are given permission to participate in a top-level inquiry into phone hacking by British journalists.

October 21, 2011

- News International agrees to pay £2 million - about U.S. $3.2 million - to the family of Milly Dowler. Also, Rupert Murdoch will pay £1 million - about U.S. $1.6 million - to charities chosen by the Dowler family.

October 25, 2011

- In a News Corp. shareholders' vote, Rupert Murdoch's sons, James and Lachlan, lose their board of director seats. Rupert Murdoch retains his seat, though 14% of the vote was against him.

November 14, 2011

- The Leveson Inquiry into journalistic ethics opens in London. It is revealed that more than two dozen News International employees used the services of convicted phone hacker Mulcaire.

November 21-24, 2011

- The Leveson Inquiry begins hearing from witnesses in the hacking scandal, including actor Hugh Grant; Dowler's mother; Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of missing toddler Madeleine McCann; actress Miller, who settled with News of the World for £100,000 earlier; Max Mosley, former chief of the International Automobile Federation; and author J.K. Rowling.

December 14, 2011

- Former News of the World lawyer Tom Crone testifies before Parliament that James Murdoch was made aware in June 2008 of the scope of the phone hacking situation when they discussed the implications of an e-mail from and a possible lawsuit by Myler, a News of the World editor.

December 20, 2011

- CNN host Piers Morgan, former editor of both the News of the World and Daily Mirror, testifies regarding his knowledge of the phone hacking scandal involving Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

January 19, 2012

- Settlements are paid to 18 people, including Miller, actor Jude Law and actress Sadie Frost.

January 28, 2012

- Four arrests, including that of one police officer, are made in connection with investigations of the phone hacking scandal. No names are released. The four are questioned on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy, all stemming from allegations of inappropriate payments made to police.

February 8, 2012

- News of the World's publisher pays out tens of thousands of pounds to settle lawsuits. Actor Steve Coogan gets £40,000 ($63,000) and legal costs; politician Simon Hughes gets £45,000 ($71,000) plus costs; sports agent Sky Andrew gets £75,000 ($119,000) plus costs. Former lawmaker George Galloway gets £25,000 ($40,000) plus costs, and Alastair Campbell, a Tony Blair aide, will be paid costs and damages.

February 12, 2012

- Authorities arrest eight people, including five journalists of the Sun newspaper, as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal payments to police and officials.

February 17, 2012

- Rupert Murdoch visits the Sun's London offices and tells staffers that a Sunday edition of the paper will launch "very soon."

February 27, 2012

- Rupert Murdoch and lawyers reach a settlement with singer Charlotte Church and her family for £600,000 ($952,000). The amount includes damages and legal costs.

February 29, 2012

- James Murdoch gives up his title of executive chairman of News Corp.'s UK publishing unit. He will keep his corporate title as deputy chief operating officer. The company says he will now focus on its pay television businesses and international operations.

March 13, 2012

- UK police arrest six people, including Brooks. All six are arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.

March 14, 2012

- UK police arrest a 51-year-old man on suspicion of intimidation of a witness in connection with an investigation into alleged phone hacking. The man was previously arrested on April 5, 2011, on suspicion of unlawful interception of voice mail messages.

April 5, 2012

- John Ryley, the head of Sky News, admits to authorizing journalists to hack into e-mails of private citizens. Sky News is owned by News Corp.

April 24, 2012

- James Murdoch, in testimony before the Leveson Inquiry, says that he knew little about the scale of phone hacking by people working for the News of the World, and that he had no reason to look into illegal eavesdropping by his employees when he took over the company's British newspaper subsidiary in December 2007.

April 26, 2012

- Rupert Murdoch admitted at the Leveson inquiry that there had been a "cover-up" of phone hacking at his flagship British tabloid newspaper and apologized for not paying more attention to the scandal.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    His tentacles spread far & wide , the man seems to bask in his arrogance.
    Wish this time he gets his due.

    April 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I sagree, saywhat.
      That old reprobate is long past due for his comeuppance.!

      April 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tyree

    Great Britain must be a wonderful place if this is all they have to worry about. We have a war going on in Afghanistan, illegal immigrants invading our country, and black youth running wild in the streets attacking anyone who looks different from them. Plus a bad economy and actual unemployment rate of over 12 percent.

    April 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • fitzjoe

      Their economy is worse, they have troops in Afganistan, they have higher illegal immigration, lots of blacks from their former colonies and their unemployment rate is approaching 20%

      April 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morbo

      @Tyree... so, ignore corruption and violations of the law because there are other things going on in the world??? No one could be that stup!d as to suggest this. I smell a political motive on your part.

      April 26, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. James

    Young Hispanics believe in Azatlan and reconquista. Young blacks want everything for nothing. Occupiers also want everything without having to work. Young people today are animals and idjiiits. I think the current generation of young people is the sorriest ever.

    April 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    I seem to remember a bit back when right here in US we had a lot of phone and email tapping that came from multiple government agencies includinq President on down to private Corporations, ALL ILLEGAL, and no big deal; THEY JUST MADE IT LEGALL!

    April 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    The only reason it is A big deal in GB is because they tapped into some of the ROYALTYS AND some of the OFFICIAL RECOGNIZED NEWS PAPERS RECORDS TO SEE WHAT THEY WERE NOT REPORTING DUE TO GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP!

    April 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sher

    Reporters can't distinguish "hacking" from "cracking"

    April 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Liers need to be punished to the fullest! Are you kidding me that you really think Rupert Murdoch AND his son didn't know what was going on? If you believe that. I've got a piece of property on the moon I'd like to sell you for only a billion dollars. This timeline shows the Murdoch family is willing to lie about anything if they think they can get away with it. These people are a threat to good people and good values everywhere. Monkey see... monkey do! If they get away with it.... why can't I? Right!?!? Abolutely abhorrent scourges of the world. They've done us all a great dis-service and then when caught, they outright lie about it. And these people call themselves leaders? BAH! No thank you!

    April 26, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
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