The former News of the World reporter who was the first person to blow the whistle about the underhand tactics used by the tabloid to get exclusive stories has been found dead at his home in Watford, UK.
Police found a body in a house on the road where the former News Corp employee, Sean Hoare, lived on Monday morning. Police have not yet officially confirmed it was Hoare.
Police said they are not treating this death as suspicious and that they are looking at the possibility that it might have been a suicide.
Hoare was the first reporter to point out that Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World and former communications director for the prime minister, David Cameron, was very aware of, and actively encouraged, phone-hacking during his time in charge of the tabloid.
Sean Hoare told the New York Times and BBC that he was directly asked by Andy Coulson to hack into phones in pursuit of stories, which was a common practice at the paper.
At that time Sean Hoare had already been fired from the News of the World over drug and alcohol problems, so his claims were taken with extreme skepticism.
Last week he told the Guardian that reporters were using police technology to locate people using their mobile phones and were paying the police for privilege of doing so.
Meanwhile, LulzSec hacktivists have infiltrated the website of News Corp’s The Sun today and altered the page to re-direct visitors to a breaking story about the death of media king Rupert Murdoch.
The editor of an independent news website, James Corbett, thinks it would be prudent to look at the timing and nature of Hoare’s “unexplained” death.
“Andy Coulson was the former communications director for the prime minister, and he is the one implicated by Sean Hoare’s testimony,” he said. “It really does raise the question of what institution can be trusted with an investigation into this death.”
“It goes to the very heart, the depths of the scandal,” he added. “Perhaps [Sean Hoare] was not the most important linchpin of the investigation, but just the idea that he was coming out with his revelations and ending up dead just as the scandal is unfolding… I think the timing in itself is suspicious.” he added.