Tom Crone, the former News International (NI) legal manager who left the company last year after falling out very publicly with the Murdochs, was arrested yesterday as part of Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking inquiry.
Mr Crone, 60, was questioned by officers from the Operation Weeting inquiry after they arrived at his home in south-west London at 6.45am. The lawyer, who was taken to a police station in south London, was held on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.
He worked for News International for 25 years before he left Rupert Murdoch’s company in the wake of revelations in July 2011 that the News of the World had hacked into the voicemails of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
As head of NI’s legal department, he advised a long line of high-profile editors at the News of the World and The Sun. But last year Mr Crone fell out with Rupert Murdoch and his son James – former NI executive chairman – over his role in the handling of the hacking scandal. In evidence to a parliamentary committee on hacking, James Murdoch clashed with Mr Crone and Mr Myler, suggesting they had failed to fully inform him that the scandal involved more than one “rogue reporter”.
When Rupert Murdoch told the Leveson Inquiry the hacking inquiry had been concealed by a “clever lawyer and drinking pal of the journalists”, Mr Crone had to respond. “His assertion that I ‘took charge of a cover-up’ in relation to phone-hacking is a shameful lie,” he said in a statement, claiming Murdoch senior was attempting to deflect criticism from his son.