Rebekah Brooks: The Evolution of Fear and Loathing

The ex-CEO of Rupert Murdoch's News International (and former editor of the now-famous-for-phone-hacking News of the World) was once the youngest editor of a British national newspaper. Now she's arguably the most despised. Check out our timeline of her rise and fall

Jamie Miles • Editor
rebekah brooks rupert murdoch news of the world hack scandal
Photograph: Courtesy of Getty Images

July 8, 2009: Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, sues NOTW for illegally intercepting cell phone messages. News International settles the case out of court, paying £700,000 in legal costs and damages. Taylor signs an agreement not to reveal details of the case and the court seals the file.

2009: Members of Parliament challenge Brooks to testify on the phone-hacking allegations. She repeatedly refuses to attend hearings. "The chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, was pursued on three separate occasions before we gave up," says Tom Watson, a Labour member of the committee.

2009: Brooks marries second husband, former racehorse trainer and friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, Charlie Brooks.

October 2010: Sienna Miller (one of many celebrities convinced they were hacked by NOTW) sues for breach of confidence and harassment. The case is settled out of court.

July 4, 2011: The Guardian reports that in 2002 NOTW hacked the voicemail of missing school girl, Milly Dowler, deleting some messages. That gave her family hope that she was alive--a hope denied when it was later discovered that she'd been murdered. 

July 7, 2011: James Murdoch shuts down NOTW, ending its 168-year history.

July 8, 2011: Brooks announces she will not resign as CEO.

July 10, 2011: NOTW publishes its final edition.

July 15, 2011: Brooks steps down, saying she is going to "concentrate on correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations about my record."  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into News International.

July 17, 2011: Brooks is arrested (in Britain, "arrest" is an early step in criminal investigations and often no charges are filed). She is questioned and released on bail 12 hours later without being charged.

July 19, 2011: James Murdoch testifies before Parliament with his father, asserting “there’s no evidence that I’m aware of” that Brooks (or other senior executives) knew about the phone hacking.


Click here to read the latest in the phone hacking scandal.

Click here to read more on the News of the World scandal.

First Published July 19, 2011

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