LONDON — A judge on Friday sentenced Andy Coulson, a former senior editor in Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and a onetime adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, to 18 months in prison for his part in the phone-hacking scandal that convulsed Britain’s press, police, and political elite and inspired calls for tighter regulation of journalists.
After a trial that spanned almost eight months, Coulson was found guilty last week on a charge of conspiring to intercept phone messages.
Five other defendants were acquitted. They included Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Murdoch’s British newspaper subsidiary and Coulson’s onetime lover.
Reporters in the courtroom said Coulson displayed no emotion when the sentence was read out Friday. If he is given time off for good behavior, he could be paroled after serving half of his sentence.
Standing alongside him in the courtroom were four other people involved in the hacking scandal who had admitted their part in the scandal earlier in the trial and who were sentenced to up to six months.
Coulson, who edited Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid from 2003 to 2007, and the newspaper’s former royals editor, Clive Goodman, also face a retrial on separate charges of making illegal payments to police officers in return for two royal telephone directories. Prosecutors called for the retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.