Europe

Irish teen hacked Sun website with fake news of Murdoch death

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch arrives at his apartment in London 11 July 2011 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The fake news story claimed Rupert Murdoch had taken his own life and fallen into a topiary garden

An Irish teen hacked the Sun newspaper website redirecting readers to a fake story reporting media mogul Rupert Murdoch had died, a court has heard.

Darren Martyn, of Cloonbeggin, Claregalway, County Galway, received a suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

He was 19-years-old when he hacked into the website six years ago.

Martyn pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage to data that was the property of News International.

The court heard he was now a security researcher for a UK consultancy firm and a lecturer.

Topiary garden

The story claimed Mr Murdoch had taken his own life by ingesting a large quantity of palladium, a rare earth mineral, before "stumbling into his famous topiary garden late last night".

The court heard that as a result of the hacking, the websites of The Sun and its sister news sites, The Times and The Sunday Times were shut down for a few hours.

Martyn, described in court as "highly intelligent", told gardaí (Irish police) he took part in the hacking in retaliation for the UK media company's involvement in the phone hacking scandal.

The judge said Martyn now appeared to be in a different place professionally, and in terms of maturity, than he was at the time of the offence.

She imposed a nine-month suspended sentence.

In March, his co-accused, Donncha O'Cearbhaill, 24, also received a nine-month suspended sentence for his part in the hacking.

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