Former News of the World reporter spared
 jail for phone hacking

A former News of the World reporter has been spared jail after giving key evidence in the case against his old boss, Andy Coulson, in the phone-hacking trial.

Dan Evans accessed the voicemails of some 200 celebrities, sports people and politicians and listened to more than 1,000 of their messages over a period of seven years.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to hack phones – one when he worked at the Sunday Mirror between 2003 and 2005 and one after he was poached by the NotW between 2004 and 2010.

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He also admitted plotting to commit misconduct in a public office between 2008 and 2010 over paying police and prison officers for stories about Soham killer Ian Huntley and EastEnders actor Steve McFadden.

And he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying in a witness statement in a civil action brought by designer Kelly Hoppen who caught him trying to hack her phone in 2009.

But because the 38-year-old pleaded guilty and agreed to give evidence for the prosecution of Coulson, his sentence was slashed from 24 months in prison to just 10 months.

He walked free from the Old Bailey after the judge decided to suspend his sentence for 12 months and give him 200 hours of unpaid work in the community as punishment.

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By contrast, ex-No10 spin doctor Coulson, who denied involvement in phone hacking throughout his eight-month trial, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment earlier this month.

Sentencing Evans yesterday, trial judge Mr Justice Saunders said: “In the circumstances of this case, and in particular the co-operation that Mr Evans has given and has agreed to give the police and the prosecution in the future as compared with the lack of co-operation from others, I do feel able to suspend the sentence for a period of 12 months.”

Following Evans’s sentencing, campaign group Hacked Off called for the Sunday Mirror to “stop the flat denial” of phone hacking.