A FORMER reporter arrested over alleged phone hacking has denied engaging in the illegal practice.
Bethany Usher, from Ashbrooke, this week became the 17th person to be arrested by police officers as part of Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting investigation.
The married 31-year-old began her career as a trainee reporter with the Sunderland Echo, before joining The People, then the News of the World, on which hacking investigations are centred.
In a statement released today, she said: “I worked for national newspapers between 2005 and 2008, spending two of those years at the News of the World, working largely on the road in the north of England.
“At no time did I work in the Wapping office and I had little contact with other colleagues.
“I have never been involved in the interception of telecommunications in any way, and strictly adhered to the Press Complaints Commission code of practice.
“However, I became disillusioned through working with some who saw human suffering simply as fodder to fill pages.
“As such, I made the decision to find an alternative career.”
She is now at Teesside University, where she teaches journalism students.
Miss Usher, who has been bailed until March, said she supports the work of Operation Weeting and the Leveson inquiry into media culture, practices and ethics.