The former News of the World News Editor, Ian Edmondson today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to intercept voicemails between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006. Mr Edmondson had pleaded not guilty to this charge on 6 June 2013.
Mr Edmondson was one of the eight original defendants at the Old Bailey trial when he pleaded not guilty. On 12 December 2013, the twentieth ninth day of the trial, the jury were discharged from entering a verdict against him after the judge ruled that he was “currently unfit”.
Since December 2013 Mr Edmondson has worked for Eggmedia Limited a “reputation company” which he founded in 2011 – following his dismissal from the News of the World.
At a recent hearing the Judge decided that Mr Edmondson was now fit to stand trial and he has now changed his plea to guilty. This plea means that seven of the nine “conspiracy to intercept voicemail” defendants have been now convicted – Messrs Coulson, Edmondson, Evans, Mulcaire, Miskiw, Thurlbeck, Weatherup. Two were acquitted – Rebekah Brooks and Stuart Kuttner.
The prosecutor, Mark Bryant-Heron QC, explained the background to the offences to the Court. Mr Edmondson had previously worked to for the News of the World and returned in 2004 under the editorship of Andy Coulson. He was promoted to News Editor until suspended in 2010 and dismissed in 2011 following a claim brought by Sienna Miller.
The notes kept by phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire had “Ian” as the “corner name” – showing a tasking by Mr Edmondson – on 334 occasions. Mr Bryant-Heron said that when Edmondson took over the news desk from Mr Miskiw he became “an enthusiastic tasker” of Mr Mulcaire.
In addition, Mr Mulcaire provided Mr Edmondson and other journalists information so they could hack voicemails themselves. In April 2006, mr Mulcaire sent Mr Edmondson details how to hack Tessa Jowell and husband, Lord Frederick Windsor, and Lord Prescott’s aide. Mr Edmondson also supervised the hacking of Sienna Miller and her friend Archie Keswick. He was hacking from News International landline. He was also involved in hacking Sir Paul McCartney during his divorce, and Kerry Katona.
Mr Edmondson was the recipient from Mr Coulson of the “do his phone” email about Calum Best “a clear instruction to hack”.
It was disclosed in court for the first time that another NOTW employee, Matt Nixson, taped a phone conversation with Mr Edmondson Mr Nixson said
“But you know what the vital difference is you haven’t done anything yourself or from your number. That is not what Clive’s caught on, he’s fucking done it himself …”
Mr Edmondson replied:
“ Yeah – I’ve done it myself …”
Sallie Bennett Jenkins QC, for Edmondson, says phone hacking “was industry wide … he was under direct instructions from senior executives”. She said that while Mr Edmondson was aware Mr Mulcaire hacked, he was “instructed” by his bosses to use Mulcaire
Mr Edmondson’s sentencing will take place at a later date. A plea in mitigation on his behalf will be heard then.