Lecturer quizzed over phone hacking

Bethany Usher
Bethany Usher

A UNIVERSITY lecturer has been quizzed by police investigating phone hacking at the News of the World.

Bethany Usher, 31, who is a senior journalism lecturer with Teesside University’s school of arts and media, was arrested early yesterday.

The former newspaper reporter worked for the Mail’s sister paper, The Sunderland Echo, and later worked for News of the World.

Ms Usher, from Ashbrooke, Sunderland, was the 17th person to be arrested by officers working for Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting.

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement yesterday confirming a woman had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages and was questioned before being released on bail until March next year.

Ms Usher was named by several national news outlets as the woman in question, but a Met spokesman refused to confirm the reports were correct and said: “We are not issuing any guidance on this.”

According to her biography on Teesside University’s website: “Bethany has won four awards and was named young journalist of the year in 2003.”

Ms Usher has referred several times to the Leveson Inquiry on her Twitter page, @bethanyusher, including a post on Monday that said: “Am I the only former tabloid reporter who followed the PCC? Leveson. Hey kids. They the rules, stick to them. mediateesside.”

Professor Gerda Roper, dean of the school of arts and media at Teesside University, said no comment would be made while a police investigation was ongoing.