Former News of the World journalist Bethany Usher has released a statement deny in involvement in phone-hacking the day after being arrested by officers from Scotland Yard.
Usher was questioned in custody at a police station in Northumbria yesterday on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages and later released on bail until March.
The 31-year-old said that due to the ‘huge and justified public interest in practices at the News of the World, and the fact my name has become attached to them, I feel I have no alternative but to release a statement today”.
In it she claimed to have ’embarked on a career in journalism with the best intentions, believing that being the eyes and ears of the public was a just profession.”
Usher, a former reporter at The People, began her career as a trainee reporter on the Sunderland Echo and worked for national newspapers between 2005 and 2008, including two years at the News of the World ‘working largely on the road in the north of England”.
She claimed that at no time did she work in the NoW’s Wapping office and ‘had little contact with other colleagues”.
Her statement, reported by The Guardian, continued: ‘I have never been involved in the interception of telecommunications in any way and strictly adhered to the Press Complaints Commission code of practice. However, I became disillusioned through working with some who saw human suffering simply as fodder to fill pages. As such, I made the decision to find an alternative career.
“I fully support the work of Operation Weeting and the Leveson inquiry and hope they will help to clean up an industry which forces out young people who chose a career path where they hoped they could make a difference.
“I do not wish to interfere with police investigations and as such any further comment would be irresponsible. However, like most people, I have been disgusted by revelations over recent months.”