Hackers will be revealed, ex-NOTW reporter warns

30th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The News of the World's former chief reporter issued a warning Friday to Rupert Murdoch's News International, saying he had information about phone-hacking that could be detrimental to his ex-employer.

Neville Thurlbeck, who is suing News International for unfair dismissal, proclaimed his innocence of any involvement in the scandal and said that those responsible would eventually be unmasked.

"I took no part in the matter which has led to my dismissal after 21 years of service," Thurlbeck said in a statement through his lawyers, after an initial hearing at a London employment tribunal on Friday was postponed.

"Those responsible for the action, for which I have been unfairly dismissed, will eventually be revealed."

Thurlbeck is at the centre of the scandal because of an email addressed to him that allegedly shows that phone-hacking at the News of the World was more widespread than previously claimed by newspaper executives.

The 50-year-old was arrested in April over hacking at the now-closed tabloid and rebailed this week.

Thurlbeck's statement accused News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch's US-based News Corporation empire, of briefing about him behind his back and of withholding the reason for his dismissal earlier this month.

"I would request that News International abandon the unseemly practice of whispering behind the back of a loyal and long-serving former employee," he said.

"There is much I could have said publicly to the detriment of News International but so far, have chosen not to do so."

Until this year, the News of the World had maintained that hacking was limited to a single rogue reporter -- former royal editor Clive Goodman -- and a private detective, who were both jailed in 2007.

But a now notorious email addressed to Thurlbeck -- known as the "for Neville" email -- contained hacked details about Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor.

Taylor later won a £425,000 (480,000 euros, $680,000) payout from News International.

The email has also spawned accusations of a cover-up going to the top of the company.

Earlier this month the News of the World's former lawyer told lawmakers that News International chairman James Murdoch was told in 2008 about the email -- a claim Murdoch denies.

The paper was shut down in July as the scandal spiralled.

© 2011 AFP

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