Anger of bewildered staff at doomed British tabloid
Staff at the News of the World's offices reacted with shock and anger Thursday at Rupert Murdoch's decision to close the 168-year-old tabloid after it was engulfed in a phone hacking scandal.
As they emerged from the flat-roofed brick entrance to the News International compound in Wapping, east London, staff at the Sunday paper said they were still reeling from the shock announcement earlier in the day.
Many said they felt they were carrying the can for crimes committed before they worked there.
David Wooding, the paper's Associate Editor, said the staff had been "sickened to the core" by the revelations that a private investigator working for the paper had hacked the phones of a murdered teenage girl, dead soldiers' families, celebrities, politicians and royals.
"Now, like them, we have been caught up in this awful mess (created) by people who worked for our paper many years ago," Wooding said.
"Like many of us who have been told we'll be out of work today, I didn't work for the News of the World when all this happened.
"I came here because it had a great, dynamic professional team.
"I came here to a very clean outfit. The people who created all this damage left five years ago," he told Sky News.
"The phone hacking that resulted in two people being jailed, I thought that was the end of it."
Wooding added: "People who worked on the News of the World at that time used the services of an unscrupulous private detective called Glenn Mulcaire. Among other things he did, he got caught."
Mulcaire and the paper's then royal correspondent Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 for hacking the phones of celebrities and royals.
It only emerged this week that Mulcaire had also hacked the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl who disappeared in 2002. She was later found murdered.
Other employees emerging from the site where the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times are also produced said the shock at the decision to shut down the paper, and leave 200 staff without jobs, was palpable.
One man said he felt "frankly terrible" as he left the site, while a Sunday Times employee added: "It's a pretty tense atmosphere in there.
"There are a lot of people worried."
Dan Wootton, the paper's showbusiness correspondent, said there had been disbelief at the announcement to staff that the paper would close.
"We weren't hacking phones, we were producing award-winning journalism," he told BBC TV.
On Thursday, London's Metropolitan Police said it was seeking to contact 4,000 possible targets of hacking named in documents seized as part of the investigation into the News of the World.
© 2011 AFP