Neville Thurlbeck (born 7 October 1961) is a British journalist who worked for the tabloid newspaper News of the World for 21 years. He reached the position of news editor before returning to the position of chief reporter. Thurlbeck was arrested in April 2011 as part of Operation Weeting. Before the News of the World Thurlbeck worked as a reporter for the Harrow Observer.
In 1998 Thurlbeck was the newspaper journalist who 'outed' the Cabinet Minister Nick Brown as gay. Thurlbeck also broke the story that Jeffrey Archer had committed perjury during his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star. The scoop won Thurlbeck three industry awards including Scoop of the Year 1999 from the London Press Club.
At the turn of the millennium Thurlbeck, under the codename "George", acted as an "unpaid source" for the police. In return he received information from the Police National Computer which principally consisted of the previous convictions of various criminals. In 2000 Thurlbeck and the police officer with whom he worked were cleared of corruption charges with regard to their working relationship.
In 2001 Thurlbeck moved from his position as investigations news editor to become news editor. He held the position for approximately two years before stepping down in 2003 to become chief reporter.
In 2004 Thurlbeck broke a story which alleged footballer David Beckham was having an affair. He was responsible for the exclusive over Max Mosley's private life which resulted in his newspaper being sued, paying £60,000 damages for the paper's breach of his privacy. Mosley later suggested that Thurlbeck's methods were akin to blackmail, with the journalist telling women that "if you don't co-operate we will publish your pictures unpixellated."
Thurlbeck was dismissed from News International in September 2011 in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal. Thurlbeck says he did not receive the reason for his dismissal from his former employer but from the Metropolitan police. He denies the allegations which led to his sacking and is pursuing a claim of unfair dismissal against News International. Thurlbeck had worked for News of the World for 21 years at the time of his dismissal.
It was announced on 17 February 2012 that Thurlbeck had become a theatre critic for the Surrey Comet newspaper.
On 12 April 2013 Thurlbeck launched TalentGB, which specialises in hosting the showreels of artistes of every genre. The company also acts as a PR adviser to several bands and singers. The company website is talentgb.com. Thurlbeck's role can be viewed at http://www.talentgb.com/content/team-talentgb
In December 2014 Thurlbeck was made a director of the Retail Ombudsman. He subsequently had to resign when his criminal record was discovered.
Thurlbeck's memoir, Tabloid Secrets: The Stories Behind the Headlines at the World's Most Famous Newspaper was published in May 2015.
News International phone hacking scandal
In 2009 Thurlbeck was reported as one of the journalists who had received transcripts of intercepted calls in the News International phone hacking scandal. He was arrested by officers from Operation Weeting on 5 April 2011 after voluntarily attending a police interview. He was bailed initially until September 2011 but bail was later extended until March 2012.
It was announced by the Crown Prosecution Service in April 2012 that Thurlbeck would not be prosecuted over claims of witness intimidation. Thurlbeck was arrested in March 2012 by officers from Operation Weeting, on suspicion of intimidating a witness and encouraging or assisting an offence after he published the home address of an executive on News Corporation's management and standards committee on his website on 7 March. On 24 July, it was announced that Thurlbeck would be charged with conspiring to intercept communications and the unlawful interception of voicemail messages.
His name appears in an e-mail from a News of the World reporter headed "for Neville" which contained transcripts of 35 voicemails.
He was sentenced to 6 months in prison after he pleaded guilty at R v Coulson, Brooks and others.
- News International phone hacking scandal
- Phone hacking scandal reference lists
- Metropolitan police role in phone hacking scandal
- Neville Thurlbeck (12 May 2015). Tabloid Secrets: The Stories Behind the Headlines at the World's Most Famous Newspaper. Biteback Publishing. pp. 198–. ISBN 978-1-84954-933-2.
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- Josh Halliday (27 April 2012). "Phone hacking: Thurlbeck will not be prosecuted over intimidation claims". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- Martin Hickman (25 July 2012). "Phone hacking: Phone hacking: The full charges against the seven News of the World journalists and Glenn Mulcaire". The Independent. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Ian Burrell: How an email 'for Neville' became a turning point – Commentators, Opinion". The Independent. UK. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.