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PM's ex-spin doctor to be charged
David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks are among eight people who will be charged with phone hacking, it has been announced.
They face prosecution along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and five other former News of the World (NOTW) staff, the Crown Prosecution Service said, and all eight will appear before Westminster magistrates on August 16.
Apart from Mulcaire, they face one general allegation of phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006, which it is claimed targeted more than 600 people including Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Coulson said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision to prosecute him over alleged phone hacking. Speaking outside his home in south-east London, the ex-News of the World editor said that the now-defunct newspaper had worked on behalf of victims of crime. He said that he did nothing to damage the investigation into Milly Dowler's murder.
Brooks will face two additional charges relating to allegedly accessing the voicemails of Milly Dowler and former Fire Brigades Union boss Andrew Gilchrist. The former NOTW editor insisted she is innocent and said the accusation relating to Milly was especially upsetting.
She said: "The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations."
Coulson is also accused in relation to allegedly hacking into Milly's phone, Crown Prosecution Service legal adviser Alison Levitt QC said.
The others facing charges are: ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup. Thurlbeck said he was "most surprised and disappointed" that he will face charges over phone hacking and will "vigorously fight to clear my reputation".
Ms Levitt said that no further action will be taken in relation to three of the other suspects. Police asked her to defer making a decision over two remaining suspects while they make further inquiries.
It is understood that former News of the World journalist Ross Hall, who wrote under the name Ross Hindley, freelance journalist Terenia Taras and former Evening Standard sports reporter Raoul Simons have all been told that no further action will be taken against them.