ANDY Coulson has been jailed for 18 months for conspiring to hack phones at the News of the World.
The former editor was convicted by a jury last week, although they failed to reach a verdict on other charges.
Coulson, who went on to become director of communications for David Cameron, arrived at the Old Bailey with three other former NoW journalists.
The judge, Justice Saunders, said Coulson believed hacking was necessary to maintain the newspaper's "competitive edge".
He told the defendants: "I do not accept ignorance of the law provides any mitigation.
"The laws of protection are given to the rich, famous and powerful as to all."
Glenn Mulcaire, a former private investigator, is also due for sentencing.
Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges after the eight-week trial, as was her husband Charlie Brooks.
Stuart Kuttner, the retired managing editor, was also cleared of involvement in a six-year phone hacking conspiracy and Brooks' former assistant, Cheryl Carter, was cleared of trying to hide evidence.
Additional reporting by PA
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