Six former News of the World features and showbusiness journalists, two of whom now work for the Sun, have been arrested by Scotland Yard officers investigating a new phone-hacking conspiracy at the paper.
In a dramatic twist to the phone-hacking scandal on Wednesday morning, police said they had identified a further suspected conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages by three men and three women that is alleged to have taken place between 2005 and 2006.
Those arrested are understood to include the paper's former showbusiness columnist Rav Singh and ex-News of the World features editor Jules Stenson.
The two Sun journalists arrested are understood to be the editor of the paper's Fabulous magazine, Rachel Richardson, who was taken to a London police station, and the Sun's northern features editor, Jane Atkinson, who was detained in Cheshire. Both formerly worked on the News of the World.
The remaining two arrested are understood to be Matt Nixson, a former features journalist who spent five years at the News of the World, and Polly Graham, a former showbusiness journalist on the tabloid.
All six were released on police bail later on Wednesday until a date in mid-May pending further inquiries.
Announcing the arrests, the Met said they came about "as part of the new lines of inquiry" being investigated by Scotland Yard: "This suspected conspiracy is believed to have taken place primarily during 2005 to 2006. It is separate from the alleged conspiracy already being investigated by Operation Weeting in which a number of people have been charged."
News Corp has been broken up and the newspaper division now contains both Harper Collins, Murdoch's publishing house, and Amplify, the Klein-led for profit education division.
Keep an eye on this new line of inquiry into phone hacking, with current Sun employees arrested, because it means even as Murdoch and Klein look to corner some of the yummy yummy education market, they're going to have expend money, energy and resources fighting a new front in the hacking battle.
The Daily Beast puts the new arrests in some persepctive:
The arrests on suspicion of phone hacking open up a whole new line of inquiry for the police—as well as the potential for another round of civil claims.
A new tranche of high-profile phone-hacking victims would also be a financial and legal nightmare for News Corp.’s London publishing subsidiary, only months away from separate flotation as a new company.
The Independent reports:
News International's recent decision to close its in-house compensation scheme for hacking victims this April was meant to signal an end to the hacking scandal and the damage caused to News Corp's reputation. That aim now looks over-ambitious and sources inside NI said there is now likely to be an immediate rethink on the scheme's scheduled closure.
Let's see if they can make Amplify a go while fighting new hacking charges and civil cases over the alleged hacking.
Should corporate criminals like Murdoch and his merry hacksters be allowed access to students and schools?
That would be the pushback I would against Murdoch and Klein as they look to do business with school districts and municipalities.