Mogul says he now agrees with judge’s finding that behaviour of paper’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, was unacceptable.
Rupert Murdoch has said for the first time that he now agrees with the high court judge who found that the News of the World had tried to threaten a woman involved in an orgy with Formula One boss Max Mosley in 2008.
In a supplementary witness statement to the Leveson inquiry, Murdoch says he now sees why Mr Justice Eady found the tabloid’s former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck threat to reveal the identity of one of the women involved in the sex party was inappropriate.
“I now understand why Justice Eady found that Neville Thurlbeck’s treatment of his potential source was unacceptable,” Murdoch said.
“I understand, and of course accept the court’s judgment that Mr Thurlbeck’s conduct in that case was inappropriate,” he added.
Murdoch also explained why he did not respond to a letter from Mosley requesting an investigation into Thurlbeck’s conduct in March 2011, months before the paper was closed over phone-hacking allegations.
He said Mosley’s letter was passed to Rebekah Brooks, the then chief executive of News International. “Mrs Brooks was consumed with the emerging facts about phone hacking. Within a few months, she was gone as was Mr Thurlbeck, the subject of Mr Mosley’s letter.”
Murdoch’s decision to agree with Eady’s judgment will be cold comfort to Mosley whose successful privacy action against the tabloid in 2008 was decried by senior executives on the paper.