UK

Phone-hacking scandal: Former journalist not a suspect

New Scotland Yard building
Image caption A number of people have been arrested as part of the investigation into phone hacking

A former News of the World journalist who was questioned last week in the police inquiry into phone hacking has been ruled out as a suspect.

Bethany Usher was released on bail but has now been told there will now be no further action against her.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said Ms Usher's bail date of March next year had been cancelled.

Teesside University lecturer Ms Usher, 31, denied wrongdoing after questioning at a police station in Northumberland.

The former reporter worked at the News of the World from 2005 to 2007.

She was was named Young Journalist of the Year in 2003, and has also worked for the Sunderland Echo and the People.

Scandal

Ms Usher, a senior lecturer in journalism, had been arrested on 30 November in north-east England by officers from Operation Weeting.

She was held on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.

The Metropolitan Police set up Operation Weeting to investigate the illegal hacking of the mobile phone voicemails of public figures by the now-defunct News of the World (NoW) newspaper.

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson are among those who have been arrested as part of the inquiry.

The scandal has led to the resignations of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates, and the closure of NoW after 168 years.

No-one has yet been charged as part of the Operation Weeting probe.

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