A former News of the World reporter who alleged Andy Coulson ‘encouraged’ him to hack phones has been found dead today.
Sean Hoare, who made claims in a New York Times article about the Prime Minister's former communications chief, was discovered at his home in Watford, Hertfordshire, after concerns were raised about his whereabouts.
The death is being treated as ‘unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious', Hertfordshire police said.
Last year Mr Hoare publicly claimed that Mr Coulson was aware of phone hacking while he was editor at the News of the World.
He gave an interview to the New York Times, and then to the BBC, about the use of phone hacking at the newspaper.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, he said phone hacking was ‘endemic’ in the newspaper industry.
Mr Hoare, who worked on the Sun before being recruited by Mr Coulson to work on the NOTW, said: ‘He was well aware that the practice exists. To deny it is a lie, simply a lie.’
Mr Coulson denies the allegations.
The showbiz journalist was dismissed from the News of the World for drink and drug problems.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates has resigned after criticism of his handling of a review of the initial investigation into phone hacking, and failure to recognise the potential threat to the force's reputation.
Mr Yates decided in 2009 not to re-open investigations into the alleged hacking, saying there was reason to do so.
However, a new inquiry launched in January this year found police had 11,000 pages of evidence that had not been thoroughly examined by detectives.
British police are currently investigating whether News of the World journalists hacked into the voicemails of members of the public, including those of murder victims and their families.
It is also alleged that journalists paid members of the police for stories, which is illegal, and that editors and executives within the company were aware of these practices.
The news follows the resignation by his boss Paul Stephenson last night over links to former News of the world deputy editor Neil Wallis.
In a parting shot, Mr Stephenson indicated that his decision to hire Mr Wallis as a media adviser was less controversial than the appointment of the newspaper's ex-editor Andy Coulson as Downing Street communications director.
But asked about the barb during a trip to Africa, British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted: ‘The situation in the Metropolitan Police Service is really quite different to the situation in the Government, not least because the issues that the Metropolitan Police are looking at, the issues around them, have had a direct bearing on public confidence in the police inquiry into the News of the World - and indeed into the police themselves.
‘For my part what I would say is that we have taken very decisive action. We have set up a judicial inquiry that can look at all aspects of these issues.
‘We have helped to ensure a large and properly resourced police investigation that can get to the bottom of what happened, and wrongdoing, and we have pretty much demonstrated complete transparency in terms of media contact.’
As he sought to limit damage from the crisis, Mr Cameron said he would be delaying parliament's summer break so he could make a statement on Wednesday.
He also denied that he had made an error of judgment by leaving the country amid the fast-moving events - which will see Rupert Murdoch, son James and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks make an eagerly awaited appearance before MPs tomorrow.
Questioned by an audience at Johannesburg Stock Exchange later, Mr Cameron dodged questions over whether he had considered resigning. And in his strongest remarks on the subject so far, he said issues of ‘potential police corruption’ had to be addressed.
Today it was also confirmed Ms Brooks will attend tomorrow's British parliament committee meeting on phone hacking allegations at the News of the World.
The confirmation follows Ms Brooks' arrest and subsequent release on bail, which cast doubt on her appearance at the sitting.
She is scheduled to answer questions from British MPs tomorrow, alongside News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and his son James.
Ms Brooks was released at midnight last night following 12 hours of questioning and was told to report back to a London police station in late October.
This evening,The Guardian is reporting a computer, paperwork and a phone found in a bin near the riverside London home of Ms Brooks is being examined by police.
Former NOTW Irish editor worked for UK police
The former editor if the Irish edition of the News of the World was carrying out potentially sensitive work for the UK police while employed by the paper.
Alex Marunchak was employed by the Metropolitan Police as a Ukrainian language interpreter with access to highly sensitive police information.
In a statement, Scotland Yard confirmed he had been on the Met's list of interpreters - providing interpretation and translation services for victims, witnesses and suspects who do not speak English - between 1980 and 2000.
It acknowledged that his employment ‘may cause concern’, adding that some professions may be ‘incompatible’ with such a sensitive job.
It said the Met's language services were now looking into the matter.
‘Since the records system became electronic in 1996, we know that he undertook work as a Ukrainian language interpreter on one occasion in 1997 and six in 1999, as well as two translation assignments, totalling around 27 hours of work. It is likely he undertook work prior to 1996 as well," the statement said.
‘Interpreters are vetted by the MPS and all sign the Official Secrets Act. They are employed on a freelance, self-employed basis.
‘We recognise that this may cause concern and that some professions may be incompatible with the role of an interpreter.’
In March, the BBC reported Mr Marunchak was sent ex-British intelligence officer Ian Hurst's private e-mails in 2006 which had been hacked into by a private detective.