The Guardian is reporting that Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking saga, has submitted a statement to the high court saying “the paper’s head of news commissioned him to access voicemail messages”.
Mulcaire is thought to have named Ian Edmondson, the paper’s assistant news editor, as the man that instructed him to hack a mobile phone belonging to football agent Sky Andrew.
The Guardian believes the statement also says that several other executives at NotW knew about phone hacking. While they remain unnamed, the statement seriously undermines the paper’s argument that only a single “rogue reporter” – disgraced former royal editor Clive Goodman – was guilty of commissioning the illegal practice.
A NotW spokesman said the allegation was “serious” and “will form part of our internal investigation”.
The paper suspended Edmondson before Christmas after he was named in court documents in a separate phone-hacking case brought against NotW by actress Sienna Miller.
Other celebrities reportedly preparing to take legal action against the paper are former footballer Paul Gascoigne, comedian Steve Coogan and, bizarrely, Andy Gray, commentator for Sky Sports, which, like NotW, is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.