Former News of the World chief reporter arrested over witness intimidation claims
PUBLISHED March 15, 2012
On Tuesday Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of the News of the World, became the first person to be rearrested. She was held with her husband Charlie.
The couple and News International's head of security, Mark Hanna, were arrested along with three other unnamed men. Two were security staff who previously worked under contract for News International.
Mr Thurlbeck was one of the first journalists arrested following the launch of Operation Weeting, the Scotland Yard investigation into phone hacking.
His arrest followed the discovery of an email marked "for Neville" which contained transcripts of voicemails which had been intercepted.
Mr Thurlbeck has claimed he is innocent of any such allegations and says that he warned senior executives at the News of the World that hacking was widespread in 2009, but his protests were ignored. He has since claimed that he was offered potential immunity by Scotland Yard in exchange for providing evidence against his former colleagues.
Mr Thurlbeck says he rejected the offer as he believes the police investigation into hacking will clear him.
His arrest came as Jeff Edwards, a former News of the World crime correspondent, told the Leveson Inquiry that he was removed from the post after he refused to bribe police officers.
Mr Edwards said his manager, who was not named, became "angry" when he told him he did not think it was right to pay inducements to police officers.
He said he was taken off the crime beat when his boss said words to the effect that: "If you will not do my bidding I will find someone who will."
Mr Edwards, who is now retired from Fleet Street, worked for the News of the World between 1981 and 1985 before a long career at the Daily Mirror.
He said he felt the News of the World, which was closed last year after the phone-hacking scandal, "had a tendency to corrupt some people".
In a statement to the inquiry, he said his line manager, the paper's news editor, told him in 1983 or 1984 he was not producing enough stories.
"I explained to him the job was difficult and his response was something to the effect that 'We have plenty of money available, let your contacts in the police know that we will reward them for good information'," he said.
He was told the following week he was being removed from his post and replaced by one of his colleagues.