“If proven, the accusation shows just how rotten and desperate an institution the newspaper had become under the leadership of Rebekah Brooks.


“This practice was not just about gaining information from royals, politicians and others in the public eye. If proved, the allegation suggests that the News of the World was willing to interfere with the lives and emotions of people at their most vulnerable and to interfere with police enquiries.


“The Metropolitan Police Commissioner now has a duty to ensure that no stone is left unturned and every person who has been involved or suspected of involvement in the commissioning or sanctioning of these practices, directly or indirectly, should be investigated with the utmost vigour.


“Journalists and those working for them must now learn once and for all that they, like the rest of us, cannot be above the law. ”