British police investigating tabloid phone hacking on Friday arrested a long-serving former assistant to former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and other executives at Rupert Murdoch’s News International group.
Police said the 47-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice and later released on police bail to return for more questioning later this month.
Officers said the woman was detained at her home and taken to a police station in Essex, east of London, but did not confirm her name.
A person briefed on the arrest, who demanded anonymity to discuss details of the sensitive police investigation, said the woman was Cheryl Carter, the longtime personal assistant of Brooks — also former News International chief executive — and other senior staff.
News International declined to comment.
The person said Carter’s arrest was linked to the recovery of incriminating company e-mails from a data center in India last year. The content of tens of thousands of archived News International e-mails are being examined by investigators.
Detectives have so far arrested 23 people as part of new investigations into alleged phone hacking, computer hacking and police bribery at the Murdoch-owned News of the World and other British tabloids. No one has been charged with any offense.
Murdoch shut down the News of the World in July after evidence emerged that its employees had routinely eavesdropped on the cellphone voice mail messages of celebrities, sports figures, politicians and even crime victims.
The scandal has spawned a huge police investigation and a public inquiry into media ethics.
It has also resulted in the resignation of top police officers, media executives and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman — a former News of The World editor.