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Ex-News of the World Journalist Arrested on Witness Intimidation

Neville Thurlbeck, a former journalist at News Corp.’s News of the World, was arrested by London police investigating phone hacking on suspicion of intimidation of a witness, according to a person familiar with the situation.

A 51-year-old journalist, the first person detained in the probe on April 5, 2011, was arrested a second time today, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement, without identifying the suspect. Thurlbeck was arrested by appointment today, said the person, who declined to be identified because the situation is sensitive.

Six people were arrested yesterday, including former of the News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and her husband, as police widened the phone hacking investigation to focus on a possible cover up. More than 20 people have been arrested as part Operation Weeting, the phone-hacking investigation, and at least 10 have been detained since the beginning of the year in a separate bribery probe.

Thurlbeck was arrested as part of the phone hacking probe last year and has since said he never participated in the crime or authorized it. He didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Thurlbeck’s name came up in an e-mail titled “for Neville” containing the transcripts of voice mails hacked from Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association. News Corp. ultimately paid 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to settle the case.

Sky News said the arrest was related to a post on Thurlbeck’s blog that identified the street a News Corp. official lived on.

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