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Wallis was born in Lincolnshire. He attended Skegness Grammar School. In a witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry, Wallis said "I left education at 18 with four ’O’ Levels, an ’AS’ Level and an ’A’ Level".
Wallis gained his first employment working for the Skegness Standard, leaving after six months to work for the Worksop Guardian as part of a National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) scheme, during which he also studied at Richmond College of Further Education in Sheffield. Having passed his NCTJ exams, Wallis worked for The Northern Echo (in its Durham office) before becoming a senior reporter for the Manchester Evening News. At this point in his career, Wallis became a Crime Reporter, giving talks to police officers on police-media relations, whilst also freelancing for The Sunday People, progressing from the paper’s Manchester desk to its London office. Wallis later said: "During this time I travelled extensively throughout Britain and the world as both a hard news reporter and as an investigator. This included lengthy periods in the USA, the Middle East and Northern Ireland during the ’Troubles’ - where I was hospitalised after being caught up in a particularly violent riot. I spent six months in Argentina during the Falklands War including spells in Buenos Aires and Commadorio Rivadavia, the invasion base of the Argentinean Junta. I also spent time in most countries in Europe and the Mediterranean". Wallis then became the paper’s Chief Investigative Reporter, responsible for conducting investigations into "murders, show business scandals, corruption, crime in general, drugs, spying and politics".
In December 1986, he joined News International's UK tabloid newspaper The Sun where he served in a series of assistant and editorial roles before becoming Deputy Editor in 1993. He left The Sun in 1998 and took up the editorship of The People. In 2003, he moved to become Deputy Editor of the News of the World, and in 2007 he became Executive Editor of the paper. In May 2009, he announced that he would be leaving his post later in the year. He was known as "the wolf man" by fellow journalists.
After leaving journalism he worked for the Outside Organization, a company specialising in public relations, becoming Managing Director in 2010. Wallis' own company, Chamy Media, provided "strategic communication advice and support" to the Metropolitan Police 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.
It is alleged that while recovering from illness Sir Paul Stephenson, head of the Metropolitan Police, accepted a free extended stay (worth £12,000) at a Champneys health spa, a company which then employed Wallis for PR work. Upon announcing his resignation from the Metropolitan Police on 17 July 2011, Stephenson acknowledged that his decision to resign was "in particular in relation to Neil Wallis".
Arrest and prosecution
At this development, the Outside Organisation edited their website, removing his listing as MD and a part of his biography which had stated "What he [Wallis] doesn’t know about journalism and media isn’t worth knowing". In February 2013, it emerged the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would not be charging Wallis over phone hacking.
This changed on 30 July 2014, when the CPS announced that it had authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge Wallis with conspiring to hack phones to listen to voicemails between January 2003 and January 2007. The charges were brought as part of Operation Pinetree into ex-News of the World features staff, a separate inquiry to the one into hacking by the paper’s newsroom staff which resulted in the jailing of ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson. In its statement the CPS said it had been decided there was "sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest". The paper’s former features editor Jules Stenson was also charged and was scheduled to appear with Wallis before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 21 August 2014. They both subsequently appeared at a case management hearing at the Old Bailey in December 2014 at which Wallis pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and Stenson pleaded guilty.
Wallis’ trail began at the Old Bailey in June 2015; he denied the charges against him. On 1 July 2015, Wallis was cleared by the jury after it had spent four days considering the charges against him. Speaking outside the court Wallis said he was feeling "very emotional", adding that the case against him had been part of a "vicious politically driven campaign" against the press. He claimed that fighting the claims against him had cost him his life savings, damaged his health and career, and taken a toll on his family.
- News International phone hacking scandal
- Phone hacking scandal reference lists
- Metropolitan police role in phone hacking scandal
- "Debretts". Debretts. 4 October 1950. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Ian Burrell (15 July 2011). "Fleet Street's 'Wolfman': hardened hack with a hotline to the Met". The Independent (London). Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- Wallis, Neil (7 October 2011). "Private and Confidential - Strictly Only For The Attention Of The Leveson Inquiry" (PDF). http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- John Plunkett, "Neil Wallis to leave News of the World", The Guardian, 1 May 2009
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- Juliette Garside (17 July 2011). "Met chief faces questions over spa stay". Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- Patrick Wintour, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd (18 July 2011). "How Paul Stephenson and PM fell out over hacking scandal". Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- "Hacking: 'Coulson's NOTW Deputy Arrested'". Sky News. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Alec Mattinson (14 July 2011). "Outside Organization MD Neil Wallis Arrested In Hacking Investigation". PR Week. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- O'Carroll, Lisa (22 February 2013). "Phone hacking: Neil Wallis will not face prosecution". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Deans, Jason (July 2014). “Phone hacking: NoW’s Neil Wallis and Jules Stenson to be charged”, The Guardian, 30 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014
- BBC News (July 2014). “Two ex-News of the World journalists charged over hacking”, BBC News, 30 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014
- "Ex-News of the World journalist admits phone-hacking charges". BBC News Online. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "Neil Wallis, ex-NoW deputy editor, 'knew about phone hacking'". BBC News Online. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Neil Wallis denies NoW hacking knowledge". BBC News Online. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Ex-NoW deputy editor Neil Wallis cleared over hacking". BBC News Online. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- Collected news and commentary at The Independent
- "Scotland Yard Stint Lands Former Editor in Spotlight", Wall Street Journal, 21 July 2011
|Deputy Editor of The Sun
|Editor of The People
|Deputy Editor of the News of the World