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Rebekah Brooks quits - Murdoch accepts this time

'Stayed on bridge' of News Int'l ship, ran it onto rocks

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News International boss Rebekah Brooks, who has been at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal, has resigned from her post and apologised for the "hurt" her company had caused to crime victims and others.

She confirmed in an internal memo to staff this morning that she was leaving the sister company of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. She will be replaced by Tom Mockridge, who has worked for News Corp since 1991, most recently as head of Sky Italia. Mockridge is also a non-executive director of BSkyB, which Murdoch has just given up trying to take over - at least for now.

"The reputation of the company we love so much, as well as the press freedoms we value so highly, are all at risk," wrote Brooks.

"As Chief Executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place."

Brooks, who last week axed the "toxic" NI Sunday tabloid News of the World, said she strongly felt she could steer her company through the phone-hacking crisis that has led to allegations of illegal payments made to individual police officers at Scotland Yard.

"However my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate," she said.

Brooks was editor of the NotW in 2002 when it is claimed that murder victim Milly Dowler's voicemail was illegally intercepted by someone working for the newspaper.

She added: "This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past."

It has been reported that Brooks had attempted to quit her post once before, but that Murdoch had rejected her offer of resignation.

"As you can imagine, recent times have been tough. I now need to concentrate on correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations about my record as a journalist, an editor and executive."

Now that Brooks is no longer at News International, where she has worked for 22 years, she said she can fully concentrate her efforts on the ongoing police investigations into the alleged phone-hacking allegations at the company.

The full statement to NI staff can be viewed here (PDF/8.4KB). ®

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