Byline: Joe Murphy, Martin Bentham and Tom Harper
REBEKAH BROOKS sensationally quit as chief executive of News International today over the phone-hacking scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
She finally resigned after days of damaging claims that her journalists hacked phones belonging to murder victim Milly Dowler and the families of 9/11 victims. The departure of the most powerful woman in British newspapers marks the end of an era. She had worked for the company for 22 years, editing both the Sun and the News of the World.
In a message to staff Mrs Brooks, 43, said she was going because she had become the focal point of the story. She said: "I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place." News International ?will now apologise to the nation for the phone hacking scandal.
In other major developments today: Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson came under growing pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson over the payment of [pounds sterling]24,000 to former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who was arrested yesterday over the hacking scandal.
Rupert Murdoch sparked fury by asserting that ?his companies and newspapers had made only "minor mistakes" in their handling of the phone hacking and bribery scandals.
The FBI launched an investigation into claims that 9/11 victims were targeted for phone-hacking, deepening the crisis in the vast Murdoch empire in the United States.
Pressure has been mounting on Mrs Brooks to Continued on Page 2
quit after the second biggest shareholder at News Corp -- Prince al-Waheed bin Talal al Saud -- said she "must go" and Elisabeth Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's daughter, allegedly said that Brooks had "f****** the company".
Mr Cameron said her resignation was the "right decision".
Mrs Brooks will still appear before MPs next week to answer questions over the phone hacking scandal. She today spent an hour in the newsroom of the Sun saying goodbye to reporters and hugging senior executives. Onlookers said she spoke of clearing her name and looked cheerful as though a "weight was off her mind".
Her replacement is outsider Tom Mockridge, who headed Mr Murdoch's Italian broadcasting wing and is virtually unknown in Britain.
Labour leader Ed Miliband, the first senior figure to call for her head, said: "It is right that Rebekah Brooks has finally taken responsibility for the terrible events that happened on her watch, like the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. …