Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, a onetime aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday for participating in a conspiracy to hack the phones of celebrities, politicians and crime victims.
Three other former journalists and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire all received shorter sentences.
Handing down sentences to Coulson and four of his former colleagues, Judge John Saunders said the Prime Minister's ex-aide had to face the heaviest penalty.
"There is insufficient evidence to conclude that he started the phone hacking, but there is ample evidence that it increased enormously while he was the editor," he said.
The sentences were:
- Coulson – 18 months
- Former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and news editor Greg Miskiw – six months
- Former reporter James Weatherup – four-month suspended sentence
- Former private investigator Glenn Mulcaire – six-month suspended sentence
Weatherup and Mulcaire also received 200 hours of community service.
Asked about the jailing of his former communications chief, the prime minister, who has apologised for hiring him, said: "What it says is that it's right that justice should be done and that no one is above the law – as I've always said."
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