THE SPOTLIGHT once again fell on James Murdoch yesterday, after two former News International executives told a parliamentary committee they told him phone hacking was not limited to a single rogue reporter and he failed to act.
Former editor Colin Myler said he told Murdoch about an email titled “for Neville” which appeared to prove phone hacking was more widespread than the company had previously admitted. He said: “I think everybody perfectly understood the seriousness and the significance of what we were discussing.”
His testimony was backed up by former News of the World senior lawyer Tom Crone, who was also present in the 15 minute meeting in 2008 that could prove central to the allegations.
Murdoch was forced to issue a statement denying he misled parliament, saying: “Neither Myler nor Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Goodman or Mulcaire.” However, he now faces a humiliating recall before the committee to explain the discrepancy between his testimony and that of the men who have worked under him.
During a tense media select committee grilling, Crone and Myler denied they were part of a cover-up operation, or that they were told to keep quiet or lose their jobs.
Crone also claimed that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson wanted to keep its shamed royal editor Clive Goodman on the payroll even if he was jailed.
“Neither Mr Myler nor Mr Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Mr Goodman or Mr Mulcaire.”
“[There] was clear evidence that phone hacking was taking place beyond Clive Goodman… That is what was relayed to Mr Murdoch.”
“There is no suggestion that anyone tried to hide anything… If we had known then what we know now, things would have been massively, massively different for everybody.”
“We got to a figure which to my mind was a reasonable settlement [for jailed reporter Clive Goodman]. There was no basis in which we were trying to cover it up.”