Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, is to face charges over phone hacking, it was announced today.
She will face two charges - one relating to the alleged accessing of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone messages.
David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson is also accused in relation to allegedly hacking into Milly's phone, Crown Prosecution Service legal adviser Alison Levitt QC said.Also facing charges are private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and a series of former staff members from the News of the World, the now defunct Sunday newspaper edited by Brooks and Coulson.
These are ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup.
Ms Levitt said that 13 files were passed to the CPS by the police and she had decided that there was a "realistic prospect of conviction" in relation to eight of them.
All of them apart from Mulcaire will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority between October 3, 2000, and August 9, 2006.
Prosecutors will claim that more than 600 people, including Hollywood superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were victims of this offence.
Ms Levitt said that Brooks will face two additional charges relating to allegedly accessing the voicemails of Milly Dowler and former Fire Brigades Union boss Andrew Gilchrist.
Coulson will face four charges linked to accusations of accessing the phone messages of Milly Dowler, former Labour ministers David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and George Best's son Calum Best.
Kuttner is accused in relation to Milly Dowler and David Blunkett, and Miskiw faces charges linked to Milly Dowler, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Abi Titmuss and John Leslie, Andrew Gilchrist, David Blunkett, Delia Smith, Charles Clarke, Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller, and Wayne Rooney.
Edmondson faces charges in relation to Blunkett, Clarke, Law, Frost, Miller, former MP Mark Oaten, Rooney, Best, former Labour minister Tessa Jowell and her husband David Mills, John Prescott, Professor John Tulloch, Lord Frederick Windsor, and Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.
Thurlbeck will face charges over Milly, Eriksson, Blunkett, Clarke, Jolie and Pitt, Oaten, Jowell and Mills.
Weatherup is accused in relation to Blunkett, Clarke, Law, Frost and Miller, Jolie and Pitt, Rooney, Prescott and McCartney and Mills.
Mulcaire faces charges over Milly Dowler, Gilchrist, Smith and Clarke.
Ms Levitt said that no further action will be taken in relation to three of the other suspects.
Police asked her to defer making a decision over two remaining suspects while they make further inquiries.
Eleven journalists and one non-journalist were due to answer police bail today. When the eight who are facing prosecution do so they will be charged.
Once police have contacted all the alleged victims, a list will be made available, she said.
Brooks said in a statement: "I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship.
"I am distressed and angry that the CPS have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage."
The former Sun editor and News International chief executive said the accusations over Milly Dowler were especially upsetting.
"The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting, not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations."