Scotland Yard said a 41-year-old man had been taken into custody Wednesday morning in connection with phone hacking and "perverting the course of justice.”
Media reports named the suspect as Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who has already served a jail sentence for phone hacking on behalf of Clive Goodman, a journalist who covered the royal family for the now-defunct News of the World tabloid. Goodman was also jailed for the crime.
Mulcaire is alleged to have hacked into phones of celebrities and crime victims -- including that of slain teenager Milly Dowler. Her mobile phone messages were intercepted and deleted after her disappearance in 2002, leading her parents to believe she was still alive.
Mulcaire has denied that he deleted the messages. He was jailed in 2007 after pleading guilty to illegally accessing messages left for aides to Princes William and Harry.
The BBC reported his arrest as the 20th in phone hacking-related investigations by police following the Dowler revelations in July, which forced the closure of the News of the World. The popular tabloid belonged to News International, the British branch of the News Corp. media empire owned and controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Both he and his son, James Murdoch, denied any knowledge that the practice of phone hacking went beyond one rogue reporter when they appeared before a committee of British lawmakers in July.
Other arrests made in this inquiry since July include Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor, and Andy Coulson, an ex-editor of the paper and former press advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron. The scandal has also caused the resignation of high-profile police officers and News International executives.
The general belief that phone hacking was widely practiced by tabloid and other journalists has led to a parallel civil inquiry into the practice and ethics of the British press led by Brian Leveson, a high-ranking judge.
So far, police confirm they are trolling through 300 million emails and that over 2,000 people have been contacted or come forward voluntarily as potential victims. Of these, over 800 of the names have appeared in related documents in police possession.
-- Janet Stobart
Photo: Prince William, center, shown attending a benefit concert on Tuesday, was the target of illegal phone hacking by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Credit: Arthur Edwards / WPA Pool / Getty Images