Sean Hoare

The original Hackgate whistle-blower has become the ultimate Newscorp victim

If I had a fiver for every hack and distant acquaintance who has told me over the last year what a nice bloke Sean Hoare was, I’d be a wealthy man – even given the state our currency is in.

I never met him. He only came to my attention at all because of his confession to the New York Times about endemic phone-hacking within Newscorp in general, and under the stewardship of  Andy Coulson in particular. I remember very well that the venom with which Murdoch set a gaggle of legals on the NYT at the time made my nose for a scandal twitch. To be honest, I rather suspect that without Sean Hoare, the full Hackgate depravity might never have come out. Sean Hoare was a good man who did something – and he should be remembered for that.

Coulson, predictably, fired him. His version of the event is that Hoare was a hopeless office drunk and marching powder addict. What Handy Andy omits to mention is that it was he and others in the Newscorp cesspool who encouraged this essentially decent man to get coked up with celebs, the better to find out what skeletons rested uneasily in their mental cupboards.

Others close to the action have told me in the past that Hoare made his unease known to Newscorp management, and that the firing on the basis of drink and drugs was a cynical insurance against anything he might later say. It proved to be wise insurance, in that this was the entirely false statement put out by the truly awful human beings in Wapping when Sean went to the NYT:

‘His claims should be treated with extreme scepticism. The News of the World repeatedly asked the New York Times to provide evidence to support their allegations and they were unable to do so. Indeed, the story they published contained no new credible evidence and relied heavily on anonymous sources, contrary to the paper’s own editorial guidelines. In so doing, they have undermined their own reputation and confirmed our suspicion their story was motivated by commercial rivalry. We reject absolutely any suggestion there was a widespread culture of wrongdoing at the News of the World.’

Tell me, Janet Daley, Brendan O’Neill, Toby Young et al: how do you feel tonight about defending this filth?

Hoare eventually got himself clean, but the guilt about what he’d done drove him back to his best friend the bottle. He was found dead at his home today, and details so far are scant. The police say that there is no evidence of foul play. How sad it is that nobody in Britain will believe them.

Former Sun editor David Yelland tonight tweeted: ‘Sean Hoare was trying to be honest, struggling with addiction. But he was a good man. My God.’

Quite. My God.