Fairfax exec Ricky Sutton ‘faces voicemail hacking questions’

Ricky Sutton, MumbrellaFairfax Media’s head of video Ricky Sutton – a former news editor of British tabloid News of the World – may face questions from UK police over the newspaper’s voicemail hacking scandal, it is this afternoon being reported.

However, there is no suggestion that Sutton was personally involved or indeed had knowledge of any illegal activities.

According to Sutton’s LinkedIn profile, he worked at the News of the World from April 1997 to April 2004, culminating in a stint as news editor. His successor in the role was arrested over the case earlier this year.

It has been known for several months that the News of the World – owned by News Corp – had used private detectives to access the voicemails of celebrities and those in the news.

But the scandal moved back to the top of the UK news agenda this week after it emerged that in 2002 the newspaper allegedly accessed the voicemails of missing teenager Milly Dowler – who had in fact been murdered. It is also claimed that the newspaper deleted voicemails left for the teen so that it could hear new voicemails when the message box became full. The paper then ran an exclusive interview with the family in which it reported their hopes that Dowler was alive because of the messages’ deletion.  

Today’s article in Crikey does not directly name Sutton, although it clearly refers to him when it says:

“The executive, who has also worked in senior positions at The Daily Telegraph since his arrival in Australia in 2004, held senior editorial roles at the News of the World at the time that the paper’s reporters were hacking the telephone messages of murdered girl Milly Dowler.

“Scotland Yard yesterday would not confirm whether they had been in contact with the man, but it is understood that all those who held senior editorial positions during the period in question are among those who will be talked to.

“The man is well known for boasting of his time at News of the World and the stories he had a hand in breaking.”

NOTW beckhamSutton states in his profile:

“Over eight years, I held several roles at Britain’s best-selling newspaper culminating in being News Editor with 70 reporters around the world….  During my stint, it was named UK Newspaper of the Year. Among our scoops were Jeffrey Archer’s perjury which led to him being jailed, Gary Glitter’s paedophilia (and him being jailed too) and David Beckham’s multiple affairs.”

It has since been reported that Beckham is among the stars who was subject to phone hacking by the newspaper. Again, there is no suggestion that Sutton had personal knowledge of any hacking of Beckham’s phone.

Again according to his LinkedIn profile, Sutton joined The Daily Telegraph in Sydney in 2004. He later worked at NineMSN, helping launch entertainment destination The Fix, before joining Fairfax as head of video two years ago.

Sutton declined to comment to Mumbrella, but indicated that he was not news editor at News of the World during the time of the alleged Milly Dowler phone hacking. He declined to say what role he was involved in for the newspaper at the time.

The Guardian has previously reported that Sutton was replaced as news editor of the News of the World by James Weatherup in early 2004. Weatherup was arrested in connection with other phone hacking allegations in April this year.

A spokesman for Fairfax Media said the company did not wish to comment.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.