With Rupert Murdoch’s media empire already mired in scandal, a former News International employee is claiming that there are even worse revelations about the behaviour of the organisation’s journalists and executives to come. “When Rebekah Brooks told those News of the World journalists the reason why Murdoch had no choice but to close the paper and sack them all would become clearer in twelve months’ time, she was being optimistic,” opines Harry Spanks, one time horoscope writer for the doomed tabloid. “Believe me, all the stuff about hacking the phones of murder victims and the relatives of soldiers killed in Afghanistan is just the tip of the iceberg! There’s some really nasty shit they thought they could keep buried until they could get that BSkyB deal through.” According to Spanks, writing in rival tabloid The Daily Tits, not only were News International employees hacking the mobiles of murder victims, but they had also succeeded in accessing the phone account of at least one serial killer. “It was pure luck – they’d tapped into the voice mail of this girl who’d been murdered and dismembered, when they stumbled upon a gloating message left by the killer,” he recalls. “Instead of informing the police, the bastards deleted the message after tracing the number it was sent from.”

Armed with the killer’s mobile number, Spanks alleges that the journalists began to send him text messages, in an attempt to find out who his next victim was likely to be. “It wasn’t they wanted to warn potential victims – they just wanted the exclusive when the bodies turned up,” says Spanks. “They did an exclusive deal with him – image rights for the chopped up bodies and murder scenes, book and TV rights, the lot.” However, the killer’s work rate proved to be too slow for the journalists, Spanks claims. “In the modern media world, these old school mass murderers who only slaughter someone every full moon just can’t cut it – newspapers need this sort of sensation on at least a weekly basis,” he says. “So they decided to try and do something about it. Now, I’m not saying that they actually drove him to kill those last seven victims, but I’ve heard that some of the crime reporters used to send him anonymous text messages saying ‘KILL!’, and they got a private eye to break into his flat and leave notes, apparently written in blood, suggesting which kitchen implements to use as murder weapons.”

Spanks believes that the News of the World’s exclusive coverage of the serial killer could have boosted its circulation by as much as 10%. “Their unique relationship with him meant that they always got the stories of his killings first – they always tried to ‘persuade’ him to kill on a Friday or Saturday, to fit in with their deadlines – sometimes before the police, even,” he says. “Not to mention the exclusive photos of the crime scenes – he took them himself on his phone and e-mailed them to the paper.” However, the killer’s eventual capture nearly ended in disaster. “The News of the World had a film crew surreptitiously filming him, hoping to capture his latest atrocity exclusively on video,” Spanks recalls. “But it turned out that not only were the cops on to him and were lying in wait, but a rival tabloid had been bribing the police for details of their investigation, and had its own reporters and film crew following them. Of course, when the police pounced on the killer, all hell broke loose – each group of journalists thought the others were trying to steal their scoop. There was an almighty punch up between them and they all missed the actual arrest!”

Despicable though encouraging a serial killer’s murder spree might seem, Spanks insists that the newspaper could be responsible for even more deaths. In an astonishing claim, he has alleged that the News of the World was also behind the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. “It all started as one of those ‘Fake Sheikh’-type stings we used to specialise in – we were just trying to find out how easy it was to smuggle suspect packages onto US internal flights, or for suspicious-looking Arab guys to board flights unchallenged,” he explains. “But one thing led to another, and the next thing we knew, airliners were crashing into the Twin Towers.” It has been speculated that the newspaper’s reporters – disguised as Arabs – simply got carried away with their masquerade. “We can only surmise that, in the interests of highlighting the lax security on these internal flights, they staged a mock hijacking that just got out of hand,” Spanks muses. “They obviously couldn’t resist the temptation to then see how easy it was to penetrate restricted airspace. I guess they were just trying to make a point when they flew into the Towers.” The subsequent ‘War on Terror’ and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were entirely unexpected byproducts of the paper’s attempts to gain a sensational exclusive. “Once things started moving, we couldn’t really own up to having been behind the catalyst for it all, could we?” he says. “I mean, it would have made both the US and UK governments’ look bloody stupid, wouldn’t it? Plunging the world into conflict as a result of newspaper stunt that got out of hand? Think of the chaos that would have ensued – we were just trying to be responsible by not coming clean.”

Not surprisingly, Spanks’ allegations have been roundly denied by News International. “These are just the latest in a string of outrageous lies spread by a disgruntled ex-employee – he’s never got over his sacking for those offensive horoscopes he wrote. Not only were they obscene, but they were also inaccurate – I’m an Aries and I most certainly didn’t have any of the acts he described performed on me by a water sign that day,” asserts a spokesperson for Murdoch’s organisation. “Next thing, he’ll be claiming that we fabricated the evidence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction so as to trigger the invasion of Iraq! Obviously, we didn’t. We didn’t need to, as we had a bloody good exclusive about Premiership footballers ‘spit-roasting’ a linesman at a gay football orgy the week that the second Gulf War broke out.”

For his part, Spanks denies that revenge is the motivation for his revelations. “I’m doing this out of a sense of public duty,” he says. “People need to understand the lengths journalists are forced to go to in order to satisfy their readers’ apparently insatiable lust for sensational stories. The fact is that with the advent of twenty-four hour news and constantly updated feeds and websites, there just isn’t enough real news to go around. Frankly, I think the boys at the News of the World should be commended for their initiative. They could simply have completely made up stories to fill their paper, but instead, they went out and made news for themselves.” According to Spanks, Murdoch’s abandonment of his takeover of BSkyB has spared Britain, for now, at least, perhaps the greatest News of the World related atrocity. “Apparently, they’d encoded some kind of subliminal message into the front-page stories over recent months,” he claims. “The idea was that once they had total control of the satellite broadcasting operation, they’d broadcast a subliminal ‘trigger’ that would turn all the affected readers into homicidal maniacs – just in time for the London Olympics! Imagine what a story that would have given them! That’s what Rebekah Brooks meant when she said it would take a year for everything to become clear!”