Monday, July 18, 2011

Key Witness in British Phone-hacking Scandal Found Dead

Sean Hoare: journalists remember 'old fashioned Fleet Street character

Colleagues pay tribute after death of former News of the World entertainment correspondent who spoke out on phone hacking

The Guardian, Tuesday 19 July 2011

Sean Hoare, a tabloid reporter who worked at the Sun and the People as well as the News of the World, in his sitting room at home. Photograph: Hazel Thompson /eyevine
Former colleagues have been paying tribute to Sean Hoare, the former News of the World entertainment correspondent who was found dead at his Watford home on Monday.

David Yelland, who edited the Sun from 1998 to 2003, used Twitter to say: "Sean Hoare was trying to be honest, struggling with addiction. But he was a good man. My God."

Ben Proctor, who worked with Hoare over many years and was most recently deputy editor of the People, recalled him fondly as "an old fashioned Fleet Street character".

"Typically with Sean he managed to became close to Liam Gallagher. Liam even helped Sean's fledgling freelance career when the News of the World cut him adrift, offering to assist him with background info on a book about Oasis," he said.

Procter told the Guardian that Hoare was "imbued with an incredible earthy charm", as well as being a great reporter.

"Like a cross between Arthur Daley and Del Trotter, you could always rely on Sean to persuade people to part with the facts."

Hoare, said Proctor, was a journalist of traditional vintage: "An old fashioned Fleet Street character, always in the pub but always with a story."

Though the most of the tributes were warm, Procter portrayed a man with some hard edges:

"When I first met him he offered to break my knee caps over some 'creative differences'. But another time, when word went round I had a problem, he was first to my home to lend support. I always loved him, everybody did."

Others who worked alongside Hoare recounted fond memories from when they were young and green.

They included the Guardian's columnist Marina Hyde, who worked as a secretary at the Sun, and wrote on Twitter: "Utterly tragic news about my friend Sean Hoare, the first journalist to speak to me when I started as a secretary ... He continued to be kind to me until the very end, and he was more special than I can possibly say."

Simon Ricketts, a Guardian journalist, recalled on Twitter that Hoare was "a lovely generous man" who took him under his wing as a work experience reporter on a local paper: "He handed me a story on a plate. I went out to investigate, got all my notes and got back to the office and started to write it."

"I finished and Sean had a look. He got my notebook, extracted the best quotes, the one's I'd left in the notebook. He tickled, edited and expanded my story.

"By the time he'd finished, it was 100 times better. It got put on the front page of the paper. Sean insisted that my name go on the story. When the paper came out, he walked over with a copy. He gave me it with a flourish. "Congratulations on your first-ever splash," he said."

Ricketts concludes, "I shall raise a glass or 12 tonight to him." © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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