Editor's assistant held in UK phone hacking probe: reports

6th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

British police probing the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World arrested the former personal assistant of Rebekah Brooks, the ex-editor of the paper, reports said on Friday.

Scotland Yard said officers from the hacking investigation had arrested a 47-year-old woman at a house in Essex, east of London, on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

British media identified her as Cheryl Carter, a former personal assistant to Brooks. Brooks edited the paper from 2000 to 2003 and was then chief executive of News International, the UK newspaper arm of Murdoch's empire.

Carter was arrested over allegations that emails at News International were deleted, reported Sky News, which is part-owned by Murdoch.

Brooks resigned in July after she too was arrested over the scandal.

Murdoch closed the 168-year-old tabloid in July amid a public outcry over allegations that the paper had hacked the voicemails of a murdered British schoolgirl.

The arrest was the 17th in the investigation.

Scotland Yard refused to identify the arrested woman, saying only in a statement: "Officers from Operation Weeting have this morning arrested a 47-year-old woman at an address in Essex (east of London).

"The woman was arrested at approximately 6:55 am (0655 GMT) on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice, and she is currently in custody at an Essex police station."

Operation Weeting was set up in January 2010 to investigate long-standing allegations of phone-hacking by the News of the World.

Police have arrested a string of people on suspicion of illegally accessing mobile phone voicemails, including Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and ex-communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron.

Police have also arrested seven people as part of an investigation into alleged bribery of police, called Operation Elveden, while one has been held as part of Operation Tuleta, which is probing computer hacking.

© 2012 AFP

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