LONDON (AP) — A former British tabloid reporter was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence Thursday for his role in the long-running phone hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
Dan Evans, 38, had pleaded guilty to eavesdropping on voicemails of some 200 celebrities between 2003 and 2010 in pursuit of scoops on their private lives for the Murdoch's News of the World and the independently owned Sunday Mirror newspapers.
Evans also admitted to making a false witness statement and conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office. Judge John Saunders said Evans had committed "serious offenses which merit cumulatively a significant sentence of imprisonment," but took into account Evans' guilty pleas and his help for the prosecution in the phone hacking trial of his former boss Andy Coulson.
Saunders ordered Evans to do 200 hours of unpaid community service. Among the more than 1,000 messages Evans accessed was one sent by actress Sienna Miller to Daniel Craig which suggested they were romantically involved — Miller was dating actor Jude Law at the time.
Saunders said Evans was unique as one of the few people willing to speak out about the wrongdoing. Murdoch shut down the News of The World in 2011 following public anger over revelations the paper had hacked into voicemails left for murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler while police were searching for her in 2002.
Murdoch's News Corp. has spent more than $500 million in legal settlements and other hacking-related costs.