Timeline of Britain's phone-hacking scandal
The chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper wing News International, Rebekah Brooks, resigned on Friday to become the biggest victim so far of a scandal that has rumbled on for five years.
The row has centred on the alleged hacking of telephone voicemails by employees of the News of the World tabloid, which Murdoch shut down at the weekend.
Here is a timeline of events so far:
- August 8: Police arrest the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire over claims they intercepted mobile phone messages sent to members of the royal household.
- January 26: Goodman is sent to prison for four months and Mulcaire for six months after they plead guilty to hacking into the phones of royal aides.
Andy Coulson resigns as editor, saying he "deeply regrets" what happened but that he had known nothing about the practice. He takes a job as media chief for David Cameron's Conservative party months later.
- June 15: News Corp. bids £7.8 billion (8.6 billion euros, $12.5 billion) for the 60.9 percent of BSkyB that it does not already own. BSkyB rejects the 700-pence-per-share offer, saying it wants more than 800 pence.
- January 21, 2011: Coulson, now Downing Street communications director, quits over the phone-hacking row.
- January 26: Police launch a fresh inquiry after News International hands them "significant new information".
- April 5: Detectives arrest the News of the World's former news editor Ian Edmondson and chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck on suspicion of conspiring to intercept phone messages.
- June 21: News of the World pays Sky television football pundit Andy Gray £20,000 ($31,900, 22,000 euros) in damages and actress Sienna Miller £100,000 after admitting their phones were hacked.
- July 4: Reports emerge that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had her phone hacked by Mulcaire after she went missing in 2002. Voicemails were deleted, giving police and her relatives false hope that she was alive.
- July 6: Prime Minister David Cameron announces a public inquiry into the scandal before fresh claims emerge that relatives of servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq may have been targets of hacking.
- July 7: News International announces the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World, with the loss of 200 jobs.
- July 10: The News of the World publishes its final edition under the headline: "Thank You and Goodbye". It sells 3.8 million copies, 1.1 million more than its usual circulation.
Murdoch flies to London to take personal charge of the scandal, as new reports of victims emerge including families of British victims of the 9/11 attacks.
- July 13: News Corp. withdraws its bid for BSkyB, shortly before Britain's parliament was to debate a government-backed motion calling on Murdoch to halt his takeover attempt.
- July 14: Murdoch and his son James say they will appear before British lawmakers to answer questions over the scandal, after earlier refusing to do so.
- July 15: Rebekah Brooks resigns.
Brooks will be replaced by New Zealander Tom Mockridge, chief executive of Murdoch-owned satellite broadcaster Sky Italia.
© 2011 AFP