'News Of The World' Whistleblower Found Dead

Jul 18, 2011

Police told Britain's Press Association news agency that a former News of the World show biz reporter, who was the first named whistleblower in the hacking scandal that has roiled Britain, was found dead today.

The Guardian, which first reported the story, writes Sean Hoare was found dead at his Waterford home and police do not think the death is suspicious. The paper quotes a police statement:

"At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

Hoare first talked to The New York Times in 2010 and told them that both at the The Sun and at News of the World hacking into sources' phones was not only commonplace but "actively encouraged."

Hoare also told The New York Times that News of the World also used a technique known as "pinging," in which for $500 Scottland Yard could zero in the location of someone's cellphone.

Nick Davies, the reporter leading the charge on the hacking story for The Guardian, wrote today that Hoare was "a lovely man:"

He knew how destructive the News of the World could be, not just for the targets of its exposés, but also for the ordinary journalists who worked there, who got caught up in its remorseless drive for headlines.

Explaining why he had spoken out, he told me: "I want to right a wrong, lift the lid on it, the whole culture. I know, we all know, that the hacking and other stuff is endemic. Because there is so much intimidation. In the newsroom, you have people being fired, breaking down in tears, hitting the bottle."

Hoare himself was fired in 2005 during a time, he told the Times, when he "was struggling with drugs and alcohol."

Jon Snow, an anchor for Britain's Channel 4 News, called Hoare the "brave unsung hero of the hacking scandal." In his Twitter account, Snow said it was he who "reinvigorated the investigation." Snow added:

"Hoare..loved a pub, but a decent News of the World reporter who found the hacking a bridge too far... blew whistle and key to today's knowledge

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