Police Chief Resigns, Rebekah Brooks Arrested in News of the World Fallout

Neil Wallis, former News editor a key suspect in the hacking scandal, worked for Metropolitan police chief Paul Stephenson and got him a perk at a spa

Last Updated: July 17, 2011 @ 5:32 PM

Sir Paul Stephenson, the chief of the London Metropolitan Police, resigned his post Sunday over his connections with Neil Wallis, a former News of the World editor and suspect in the phone hacking scandal.

Earlier in the day, Stephenson's own department arrested News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks on charges of corruption and conspiring to intercept communications.

Stephenson's resignation comes following a new revelation that Wallis, then at a PR company, arranged and paid for him to stay at a spa. The spa was represented by Wallis' PR company and Stephenson was recovering from surgery at the time.

The revelation about the Stephenson's alleged spa perk only added to the pressure on him. Earlier, it came to light that Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor, served as the police chief's head of public affairs for 12 months between 2009 and 2010.

The announcement follows the morning arrest of another central figure in the News of the World hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks.

Also read: Rebekah Brooks Arrested in News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal

"I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis, who as you know, was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week," Stephenson said in a statement.

Wallis was known as the "wolfman" for his dogged pursuit of stories and generally brash demeanor.

The police did not acknowledge Wallis' time working for the force until last week, which raised eyebrows given both the ongoing investigations into Wallis' former newspaper and the World's alleged bribery of politicians and police officers.

Stephenson has said he can retire with his integrity intact, but the Sunday Telegraph has now reported that the police chief accepted hospitality from News International, News Corp.'s British publish arm, more than a dozen times from 2007 to 2010.

The police confirmed the initial rumor that Stephenson stayed at a spa for free, but claimed innocence and ignorance when told that Wallis's PR company represtened that spa. Stephenson was at the spa to recover from a cancer-related fracture.