Sky News has admitted illegally hacking into the emails of John Darwin, the man who faked his own death in a canoeing accident off Seaton Carew.
The broadcaster says it authorised a journalist to access Darwin's Yahoo! account because it was 'in the public interest'.
It says the evidence it discovered was handed to police, who used it in the successful fraud prosecution of Darwin and his wife Anne in 2008. They were both jailed after claiming thousands of pounds in life assurance payments in the scam.
Sky News is part of BSkyB, which is 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. His now-defunct newspaper, the News of the World, is being investigated over allegations of illegal phone hacking.