Andy Coulson, former editor of the now defunct News of the World tabloid and ex-aide of UK Premier David Cameron, was today released after serving nearly five months in jail for a phone-hacking scandal that brought down media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper.
46-year-old Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in jail in July after he was found guilty of a conspiracy to intercept voicemails for stories in the tabloid following an eight-month trial at the Old Bailey court in London.
The conditions of his release have not been released yet but it is likely that he could now be placed under home detention.
It is not known whether Coulson will have to wear an electronic tag but normally, released prisoners are expected to wear a tag until half of their sentence has passed.
The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the case, but said inmates could leave prison under home detention arrangements before they had served half of their term.
A spokesperson said: “Public protection is our first priority. Only prisoners who pass a strict risk assessment can be released on home detention curfew (HDC). Offenders on HDC are subject to strict licence conditions and can be recalled to prison if they breach them.”
Coulson left Suffolk’s Hollesley Bay open prison in a car this morning.Â He had previously been held at the high security HMP Belmarsh in south-east London.
He was one of four former journalists at the ‘News of the World’ sentenced at the time.
Coulson had denied all charges against him, but was found guilty of plotting to intercept voicemails between 2000 and 2006.
Five defendants – including former News International chief Rebekah Brooks – were cleared of all charges.
Cameron had made a public apology after the conviction of Coulson, who was his communications director from 2007 until his resignation in 2011.