In Brief

Hacking trial: Andy Coulson faces 18 months in prison

David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson sent to jail for conspiracy to hack phones

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones.

The 46-year-old, who became director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron after stepping down from the newspaper, was found guilty last week of plotting to intercept voicemails between 2000 and 2006.

The maximum sentence available was two years in jail, but Coulson was given a reduced sentence for previous good character, reports The Guardian. He will be taken to HM Belmarsh Prison near Woolwich later today, before being sent to an open prison in a few days’ time.

The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, told the court that it was clear from the evidence that there was a great deal of phone hacking at the newspaper while Coulson was editor.

Five of the seven defendants in the high-profile phone-hacking trial were cleared of all charges last week, including former News International chief Rebekah Brooks.

Former private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and three other former NotW journalists, who all pleaded guilty, were also sentenced today:

  • Mulcaire was given a six-month suspended sentence
  • Greg Miskiw, former NotW news editor, was jailed for six months
  • Neville Thurlbeck, former chief reporter, was jailed for six months
  • James Weatherup, former reporter, was given a four-month suspended sentence

Coulson, who has denied all the charges against him, and the newspaper’s former royal editor Clive Goodman, also face a retrial on a charge of buying royal telephone directories from police officers after the jury failed to reach a verdict on these charges.

Today's sentencing comes exactly three years after the Guardian revealed that someone acting on behalf of the News of the World had hacked the phone of missing Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002.

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