Chiswick Man Arrested Over Phone Hacking

Ex-NOTW deputy editor Neil Wallis taken into custody

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Police have arrested Neil Wallis at his Grove Park home in the early hours of Thursday morning (14th July). Mr. Wallis is the former deputy editor of the News of the World.

The arrest was made by officers who are part of the Operation Weeting investigation which is specifically charged with looking into the issue of phone hacking. This is the ninth arrest they have made so far.

Press photographers gathered outside Chiswick police station the afternoon of his arrest in the expectation that Mr. Wallis would be sighted there.

Press outside Chiswick Police station - picture courtesy of Ian Wylie

Mr. Wallis acted as deputy editor when Andy Coulson was in charge of the paper. After Mr. Coulson's departure in 2007 he became executive editor but left the paper in 2009 to work for a public relations firm.

He was reportedly nicknamed the Wolfman by staff at the News of the World due to the facial hair he used to sport and aggressive personality.

He was employed by the Metropolitan Police as a media adviser on a part-time basis from October 2009 to September 2010 whilst the Met's Deputy Director of Public Affairs was on extended sick leave.

On hearing of the employment of Mr. Wallis by the Met, Mayor Boris Johnson called in the Commissioner for a meeting lasting nearly and hour and a half to discuss the subject. A spokesperson for the Mayor said: ‘Sir Paul Stephenson reassured the Mayor that the investigation at Scotland Yard is proceeding as swiftly and thoroughly as possible. He explained the circumstances of the hiring on a part-time, short-term basis, of Neil Wallis and agreed with the Mayor's suggestion that Lord Justice Brian Leveson should now be asked to take a specific look at these arrangements, not least because the public needs to be reassured that this was not inappropriate.’

Sir Paul is believed to have enjoyed a long stay at Champney's luxury health farm free of charge. Champney's was a client of Neil Wallis at the time.

A police spokesman said of Wallis, "He was not involved in any operational activity and that includes giving any advice on phone hacking."

July 17, 2011