Hacking ex-news editor loses home, health and now his liberty

Former News of the World news editor Ian Edmondson
Former News of the World news editor Ian Edmondson
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A NEWS editor who lost his home, health, job and reputation in the wake of the News Of The World phone hacking scandal was told he only had himself to blame as he was jailed for eight months.

Ian Edmondson, 45, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to conspiring with private eye Glenn Mulcaire and NotW colleagues to hack a host of celebrities, sports personalities, politicians and even royalty between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006.

The married journalist had been dropped as a defendant in the original hacking trial of ex-editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks in December last year, after the trial judge deemed him “unfit” to continue.

Last month, before he could stand trial again, he admitted the offence and became the eighth person to be convicted of phone hacking at the now defunct Sunday tabloid.

The court heard that the case had a devastating effect on Edmondson’s personal and professional life and he had become depressed and dependant on alcohol as a result.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Saunders said: “I am satisfied that he is suffering from depression as well as having other medical problems. Mr Edmondson was dismissed from his job at the NotW and he has lost his reputation as a journalist. He has only himself to blame for that.

“The list of victims of hacking with whom Edmondson was involved included celebrities, politicians and one person who was famous because of his links with the royal family. Taken together they amount to a substantial invasion of privacy which has caused distress to many people, the majority of whom cannot be accused of courting publicity.”

The judge did, however, accept that he had pleaded guilty on the basis that hacking was “common knowledge and industry wide”.

He also referred to a “very moving letter” from Edmondson’s wife on the effect the prosecution had on their young family.

As Edmondson was sent down from the dock, he mouthed “I love you” to his wife in the public gallery above, and she mouthed the endearment back.

Defending, Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC said: “The reality of the proceedings and the effect on him is really this in short terms - that his life whether it was professional or personal was left in tatters in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.”

She added: “There is a man who has brought against himself and loved ones the full glare of publicity from which he himself had made his living.

“It is a bitter irony. His remorse for the gross invasion of people’s privacy is very deeply held and he comes to it with a deal of understanding.”

Edmondson, of Raynes Park, south-west London, worked as an executive on the NotW newsdesk - the “engine room of the newsroom” - between 2005 and 2010 when he was suspended and later sacked for “gross misconduct”.