Phone hacking "routine" at Sun, late News of the World whistleblower told brother

The older brother of ex-News of the World reporter Sean Hoare has told the Leveson Inquiry that phone hacking was taken from the Sun to the now defunct tabloid.

Stuart Hoare said he had exchanged a series of emails with his late brother in which he had revealed practice was “routine” at the Sun before being “taken” to its Sunday equivalent, where it occurred “more daily”.

“The idea that it was a secret had him [Sean] rocking in his chair,” Hoare said. “Everyone was at it.”

Sean Hoare, who died in July, was interviewed by the New York Times in 2010 about phone hacking at the News of the World.

Also speaking today, deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday James Hanning said that Sean Hoare had told him he had hacked phones “numerous times”, as had several of his colleagues at the News of the World.

“Sean didn’t realise at the time he was probably doing wrong,” Hoare said. “He got carried away like a lot of journalists, and was certainly under a lot of pressure from seniors to deliver.”

Hanning disagreed with Stuart Hoare’s assertion that the paper’s newsdesk was out of control. “It seems to me it was known what was going on.”

In his witness statement Hoare said his brother had regarded drug taking as “part of his job” and was “easily led” into a culture of drinking. “He came close to a lot of celebrities and got a lot of information that benfited him and his employer,” he told the Inquiry.

Sean Hoare was asked by a senior member of staff to leave the News of the World in 2005. “His world fell apart,” his brother said said. “I can’t tell you how much Sean enjoyed journalism.”

He added that, in his last two years at the paper, Sean had been “struggling” due to pressure placed on him and other reporters to produce stories. “He was bringing his work home, he was drinking more,” Hoare said.

“It upsets me the amount of pressure these journalists at the News of the World were out under to deliver stories,” Hoare added. “To see the demise of my brother through this was shocking.”

Hanning also alluded to the “very tough” redtop market, noting that “if you don’t perform, you tend not to thrive.”

Hoare concluded that he “found it very difficult” not to name names, adding that those involved “know the wrong they have done.”

“I am trying to put some of the wrongs to rights on Sean’s behalf,” he said.

The inquest into Hoare’s death in November concluded he had died of natural causes, with the coroner citing alcoholic liver disease.

Follow Index on Censorship’s coverage of the Leveson Inquiry on Twitter – @IndexLeveson.