London crime reporter arrested again

March 14, 2012 at 4:57 PM
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LONDON, March 14 (UPI) -- Neville Thurlbeck, formerly chief reporter for the tabloid News of the World, was arrested Wednesday for a second time in Britain's phone-hacking scandal.

Police said Thurlbeck, 51, was arrested on suspicion of intimidating a witness and then released on bail, The Guardian reported. Last week, he posted the name of the street where a member of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's management standards committee lives on the Web, although he did not include the house number.

Rebekah Brooks, former head of News International and a longtime Murdoch protege, and her husband, Charlie Brooks, were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. The arrest was Brooks' second.

Several reporters testified Wednesday before the Leveson Commission, the panel investigating the phone-hacking scandal, on the intricacies of police reporting. James Edwards, now head of the Crime Reporters Association, said he was bumped from a job as crime reporter for the now-defunct News of the World because he refused to bribe police officers.

Edwards, Sandra Laville, The Guardian's crime correspondent, and other reporters testified that informal contacts with police officers provide texture, color and sometimes important information not available through official channels. Laville said having a drink with an officer is part of building a relationship, but treating police to expensive meals and lap-dancing sessions is clearly out of bounds.

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