Neville Thurlbeck, the former News of the World reporter implicated in the phone-hacking scandal, has broken his silence. In a wide-ranging first-person piece for Press Gazette, Thurlbeck claims that the “for Neville” email frequently cited in the phone-hacking case was not, in fact, intended for him, and alleges that the News of the World ignored a dossier of evidence that he compiled to prove his innocence and pinpoint the culprit.
Thurlbeck was arrested in April on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages. He was sacked in September and is currently pursuing a claim for unfair dismissal against News International.
On the “for Neville” email:
Suddenly, I was fighting for my professional life. The money meant nothing. My reputation meant everything.
At that one-hour meeting with Tom Crone and Colin Myler, I gave them a substantial amount of evidence which satisfied them that I was not the guilty party. And that others were.
Many openly speculated how I had managed to keep my job for so long afterwards. That is why.
I followed this up with a lengthy memo on Wednesday 15 July and handed it to Myler and an ashen-faced Crone, who noted testily: “So you are putting this in writing!”
On Sunday, 19 July, I tracked down Ross Hall in Peru, the reporter who had made the transcript on the orders of an executive..
I taped the call and it exonerated me and incriminated the culprit.
On where the blame lies:
Senior management at the News of the World missed every opportunity to root out the problem and exonerate me.
But most significant of all, by depriving James Murdoch of the dossier, he was made to sit in front of the CMS Committee and face the damning allegation that he was guilty of “Wilfull blindness”.
Far from being blind, James Murdoch had been given nothing to see.
Do I believe James Murdoch when he says he was never informed of the ‘transcript for Neville’ email? I do.
The full piece is available to read at Press Gazette.