MOSCOW, November 21 (Sputnik) — Former British newspaper editor Andy Coulson was released from jail Friday morning having served less than a third of his sentence, following charges of conspiracy to intercept the voicemails of a 13-year old British girl who went missing in 2002, the BBC reported.
Coulson, 46, served nearly five months of his 18-month sentence after he and some colleagues were accused of hacking the voicemails of Milly Dowler between 2002 and 2006, amid the then ongoing police investigations into her disappearance.
"Public protection is our first priority. Only prisoners who pass a strict risk assessment can be released on home detention curfew [HDC]. Offenders on HDC are subject to strict licence conditions and can be recalled to prison if they breach them,” a UK Justice Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by the BBC, implying that Coulson would continue his sentence with a home detention curfew.
According to BBC, Coulson was jailed in July after an eight-month trial. He denied all charges against him but was found guilty of intercepting voicemails relating to Dowler’s case.
Coulson was an editor for the News of the World newspaper, shut down by its parent company News International following the scandal. He previously served as British Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications
The other five defendants in the case, which included former News International chief Rebekah Brooks, were cleared of all charges.