Ex-News of the World reporter, who blew the whistle on phone hacking, found dead

On Jan. 26, London's Metropolitan Police Service announced that it would further allegations that News of the World employees were hacking telephones of public figures, celebrities and the family of victims of tragedies like 9/11. The operation resulted in the arrest of News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, former editor Andy Coulson and more than a dozen other editors and reporters associated with the newspaper. In July, parent company News Corp. shut down News of the World after nearly 168 years in print. 2011: Year in Review
AP Photo/Matt Dunham

A former News of the World journalist, who publicly spoke about the newspaper's phone hacking last year, was found dead Monday, The Guardian reported.

Sean Hoare, a showbiz reporter for the now-defunct paper, was found dead at his U.K. home. Police had not confirmed that it was him, but released a statement:

"At 10.40 a.m. today police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after."

The police added that Hoare's death is not thought to be suspicious and that investigations are still ongoing.

Hoare was fired from the newspaper due to drug and alcohol problems. Last fall, he told The New York Times that then-News of the World editor Andy Coulson encouraged him to continue phone hacking. Coulson said that the time that he was unaware of what was going on.

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Recently, Hoare told The Guardian about the practice of "pinging," in which reporters would ask a news desk executive to get the location of the target.

"You'd just go to the news desk and they'd just come back to you," said Hoare. "You don't ask any questions. You'd consider it a job done. The chain of command is one of absolute discipline and that's why I never bought into it, like with Andy saying he wasn't aware of it and all that. That's bollocks."

Hoare also told The Guardian, "There's more to come. This is not going to go away," and that he hoped the scandal will lead to changes in journalism.