News of the World Whistleblower Found Dead

The death of former reporter Sean Hoare is "not thought to be suspicious"

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The Guardian is reporting that Sean Hoare, the News of the World showbiz reporter who first claimed that former editor Andy Coulson, who went on to be Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief, was aware of phone hacking by the paper's staff, has been found dead at his home in Watford, a London suburb.

In a statement to the paper, investigators refused to confirm Hoare's identity: "At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after." Investigators added that "the death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious."

The Guardian notes that Hoare "has been treated for drug and alcohol problems" in the past, which led to his dismissal from News of the World. Last September, he was featured in Don Van Natta's lengthy investigation of the scandal for  The New York Times Magazine:

Sean Hoare, a former reporter and onetime close friend of Coulson’s, also recalled discussing hacking. The two men first worked together at The Sun, where, Hoare said, he played tape recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At News of the World, Hoare said he continued to inform Coulson of his pursuits. Coulson “actively encouraged me to do it,” Hoare said.

Hoare said he was fired during a period when he was struggling with drugs and alcohol. He said he was now revealing his own use of the dark arts — which included breaking into the messages of celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham — because it was unfair for the paper to pin the blame solely on [royals reporter Clive] Goodman. Coulson declined to comment for this article but has maintained that he was unaware of the hacking.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.