UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of the Widnesian editor of the News of the World after its owners pulled the plug on the 168-year-old publication.
Colin Myler, second cousin to Widnes rugby league legend Frank Myler, was said to be ‘outraged’ and ‘devastated’ when News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks announced to a stunned newsroom yesterday that this Sunday’s edition would be the last.
There was mounting anger that Mrs Brooks, who was editor of the paper when murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler’s phone was allegedly hacked in 2002, kept her job while 200 others lost theirs.
Mr Myler told Mrs Brooks to leave the newsroom after her dramatic announcement.
Features editor Jules Stenson said: "There was shock, bewilderment, gasps and lots of tears from the staff."
Political editor David Wooding described the atmosphere in the newsroom as 'if a nuclear bomb had gone off'.
The families of murdered Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, as well as 7/7 terror victims and their relatives, were also allegedly targeted by phone hackers working for the paper.
There were also allegations that the families of British soldiers who were killed in action in Iraq also had their voicemail messages illegally intercepted.
Michelle Stanistreet, of the National Union of Journalists, said: "Closing the title and sacking over 200 staff in the UK and Ireland, and putting scores more freelances and casuals out of a job, is an act of utter cynical opportunism."
The final edition of the News of the World will run no commercial adverts after yet more major firms pulled the plug on deals with the newspaper yesterday.
Instead, the advertising space will be donated to good causes.
It was unclear last night whether any charities will take up the offer.