Phone-hacking trial ends as last defendant pleads guilty

The trial of the century formally came to an end today when the last remaining defendant pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally hack mobile phone voicemails.

Ian Edmondson, who was news editor at the now defunct News of the World pleaded guilty at London’s Old Bailey to one charge of conspiracy to illegally intercept communications between 2002 and 2006.

Edmondson had been in the dock when the trial commenced in October 2013 but was excused from proceedings in December due to illness.

The marathon case, which was the longest and most expensive trial in English criminal history saw eight defendants convicted, including the government's former director of communications Andy Coulson, and five acquitted.

Amongst those found not guilty was Rebekah Brooks, who edited the newspaper before becoming chief executive of News International in 2009.

Edmondson will be sentenced later this year.

The Crown prosecution service also announced that Tom Crone, a senior lawyer at News International would not be prosecuted for his alleged involvement in the phone-hacking scandal due to a lack of evidence.

During the trial it was revealed that police found tapes of voicemails left by David Blunkett and others in Crone’s office safe - a fact media could not report at the time.

However, unless new evidence emerges the lawyer will face no other proceedings.

While this trial is over the ramifications of phone-hacking will continue to reverberate around the legal system. Coulson faces charges of perjury in Scotland that are set to be heard in January 2015 and two other former News of the World staff, former deputy editor Neil Wallis and features editor Jules Sternson are also facing trial.

Earlier this week Rebekah Brooks dropped her legal bid to recover millions of pounds in legal costs after News UK decided not to pursue her for re-payment of the money they had spent on her defence.

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