How Local Community In Chiswick Supported Neil Wallis

But he says he might have to leave after thirty years

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The former deputy editor of the News of the World, Chiswick resident Neil Wallis, said the support from friends and neighbours got him through the last four years but said he might have to consider leaving the area following the 'phone-hacking' trial.

The 64-year old journalist told that he would be "heartbroken" if he had to leave, but he could not apply for his costs from the Crown Prosecution Service because of a change in the law that a defendant can't reclaim the costs.

He said he had to try to restart a career and with his life savings spent on legal fees, would have to consider whether he could stay in the area.

And he paid tribute to friends and neighbours in Chiswick who he said had shown him unstinting support over the past four years as he fought to clear his name. When he returned home from the Old Bailey last week, bottles of champagne and cards had been left on his doorstep by wellwishers.

"I don't think I have ever had a bad word said to me, or had anyone here act in a negative way. People have been generally tremendously nice."

He recalled that when the media was camped outside his house four years ago, "at the height of the madness", neighbours helped smuggled him out of the house through back gardens. Others had brought food and even offered financial support.

"I came to live in Chiswick over thirty years ago, firstly to Magnolia Road when my daughter was only aged a year old. We moved elsewhere within Grove Park and I have loved living here, it's like a village and the community support has been awesome".

During the trial Mr. Wallis spoke about the impact of the stress of the investigation on his marriage (he and his wife are estranged), and on his health.

A jury last week unanimously cleared Neil Wallis of charges related to phone-hacking at the now defunct News of the World. The charges were of conspiring to illegally intercept voicemails between Jan 2003 and August 2006. At the time he was Andy Coulson's deputy. During the trial, it was alleged by the prosecution he was aware of the activities of Dan Evans, a reporter who was convicted of phone hacking last year. Mr. Wallis denied this.

July 7, 2015