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UK Police Arrest 13th Phone Hacking Suspect

The Metropolitan Police arrested another suspect as part of their investigations into phone hacking at the now closed News of the World newspaper, London's Metropolitan police said on Thursday.

James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia.
Miguel Villagran | Getty Images

In a statement released on Thursday morning the police said: “Officers from Operation Weeting arrested a 38 year old man on suspicion on of conspiring to unlawfully intercept voicemails contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977. He was arrested by appointment at a London police station and remains in custody.”

A separate report in the Guardian newspaper named the suspect as the News of the World’s award winning former Hollywood reporter James Desborough.

Desborough joined the newspaper in 2005 and was still working there until its close last month. He was based in the US from 2009 onwards just one month after winning a British Press Award for showbusiness reporter of the year, where he was praised for his series of "uncompromising scoops which mean no celebrity with secrets can sleep easy". 

According to the Guardian report Desborough continued to win plaudits after his move to America. Ian Halperin, a Hollywood author, described him as someone who "never gets his facts wrong. He's a rock solid reporter." 

The police investigation into Desborough relates to his work prior to moving to the US. However, his arrest could lead to questions over his activities while working in America.

The news of the arrest comes two days after the release of a letter from the News of the World’s former royal reporter, Clive Goodman, by the parliamentary committee investigating phone hacking at News International, the UK subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which explicitly refers to phone hacking as standard practice at the News of the World.

The latter directly contradicts evidence given by James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and former News of the World editor and government director of communications, Andy Coulson.

On Wednesday, shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant called on James Murdoch once again to resign. He told the London Evening Standard newspaper: "If I were a shareholder in News Corp or BSkyB, I would be urging James Murdoch to step aside."

"The allegations go to the heart of whether he and the organization he runs are fit and proper to publish newspapers or run TV companies," he said.