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Fired News of the World Reporter Threatens Murdochs in Public Memo

Rupert Murdoch
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Neville Thurlbeck, who was fired this month, warns that “the truth will be out... there is much I could have said publicly to the detriment of News International but, so far, have chosen not to do so.”

LONDON - Neville Thurlbeck, the News of The World reporter named in the key "for Neville" phone-hacking email, has said he is not guilty of events that led to his dismissal earlier this month.

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In an impassioned statement released Friday, Thurlbeck, hit out at Rupert Murdoch's News International for briefing against him, warning that "the truth will out" and that the guilty would be identified. The former chief reporter said he could not disclose the reason he had been fired, for legal reasons but insisted he would fight to clear his name.

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"I say this most emphatically and with certainty and confidence that the allegation that led to my dismissal will eventually be shown to be false and those responsible for the action, for which I have been unfairly dismissed, will eventually be revealed."

Thurlbeck, who was fired after 21 years at the paper, is one of 16 former News International staff to have been arrested on phone-hacking related charges.

Although he did not disclose the reasons for his dismissal, one interpretation of the phrasing of his letter could be that he was fired for being thought to know that phone-hacking was widespread at the newspaper.

But he insisted he "took no part in the matter" of which he had been accused by News International and said had been "unfairly dismissed."

He further accused News International of briefing newspapers against him and said that that act had prompted him to break his silence.

"This had compelled me to speak for the first time since my name became attached to the phone-hacking scandal through the 'for Neville" email more than two years ago."

The so-called "for Neville" email came to light at News International in 2008 and showed that phone-hacking on the newspaper had gone beyond one reporter on the newspaper and was likely the practise of a number of different reporters.

In his statement Friday, Thurlbeck said there was no reason to believe he had known anything about the illegal practice.

"For more than two years, News International has accepted that I was not responsible for the [undisclosed] matter in question and there is no valid or reliable evidence now to support their sudden volte face."