Sacked reporter breaks silence over hacking

The former chief reporter of the News of the World broke his silence over the phone-hacking scandal yesterday to insist he played “no part” in the matter that led to his sacking.

Neville Thurlbeck, 49, was fired by News International earlier this month after being arrested in April on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemails while working at the now defunct Sunday tabloid.

He issued a strongly worded statement in which he vowed to fight his unfair dismissal claim against his former employers “to the end”.

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Mr Thurlbeck’s alleged role in the scandal has been closely scrutinised since details emerged of a June 2005 email headed “for Neville” which contained transcripts of illegally intercepted voicemail messages.

The email, which surfaced in April 2008, appeared to contradict News International’s previous stance that phone hacking was confined to a single “rogue reporter”.

Speaking out for the first time since his name was linked to the phone-hacking scandal through the “for Neville” email, Mr Thurlbeck said: “At the length, truth will out. I await that time with patience, but with a determination to fight my case to the end.”

The Sunderland-born journalist alleged today that his former employers withheld the reason for his dismissal for nearly a month.

He said he found out why he was sacked from Scotland Yard, but did not reveal any details for legal reasons.

In a statement issued by his law firm DWF he went on: “I took no part in the matter which has led to my dismissal after 21 years of service.

“I say this most emphatically and with certainty and confidence that the allegation which led to my dismissal will eventually be shown to be false.

“And those responsible for the action, for which I have been unfairly dismissed, will eventually be revealed.”

Mr Thurlbeck has lodged employment tribunal papers against his former employers News International.