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Andy Coulson due in court to face hacking charges

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Andy Coulson

© PA Images / Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Andy Coulson, the former communications chief to David Cameron, is due in court today alongside six other people charged with phone hacking.

Former News of the World editor Coulson and other former employees at the now-defunct Sunday paper stand accused of intercepting the voicemails of high profile individuals.

Alongside Coulson, due in court today are ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed on hacking charges in 2007, completes the group.

All the accused face one general charge of alleged phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006, which could affect as many as 600 victims, including celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and Wayne Rooney.

But certain individuals are also facing additional specific charges.

Coulson, for example, stands accused of a total of four extra charges relating to the alleged hacking of the mobile phone of schoolgirl Milly Dowler after she disappeared in 2002, along with MPs David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and George Best's son Calum Best.

The former News of the World journalists, along with Mulcaire, are due to appear at the court in central London at 10am on Thursday morning.

They are the first people to appear in court in connection with alleged hacking at the News of the World since police reopened their investigation in January 2011.

All the men deny the charges and have said that they intend to vigorously contest them in court.

Speaking after he was charged last month, Coulson strenuously denied that he had done anything to the police investigation into Milly Dowler's disappearance.

He added: "At the News of the World we worked on behalf of the victims of crime, particularly violent crime, and the idea that I would then sit in my office dreaming up schemes to undermine investigations is simply untrue."

The News of the World was shut down in July 2011 by Rupert Murdoch's News International after it was hit by a string of revelations about alleged phone hacking.

Alongside Coulson, former News of the World editor and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks is also due in court soon to face her own charges of alleged voicemail interception.

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