Neil Wallis
Neil Wallis has been cleared of phone hacking chargesGetty

Neil Wallis, the archetype Fleet Street editor, who revelled in the high-pressured world of red-top scoops, has been cleared of phone hacking charges but just who is the 'wolfman,' the enforcer who became deputy editor at News of the World?

Wallis, editor at The People in 1998 and Executive Editor at the Sun from before he took his post at News of the World (NOTW), has vigorously fought phone hacking charges against him since he was arrested in July 2011.

Wallis claimed his arrest in a dawn raid by Met police was symptomatic of what he called a "vicious politically-driven campaign against the press" outside court after he was cleared.

Throughout proceedings at the Old Bailey, Wallis maintained he was a stickler for the rules and was being prosecuted as part of a witchhunt by Operation Weeting detectives.

In typical style as he left court he said he and his legal team were "going off for a drink".

Wallis, who got his start in journalism on a local Lincolnshire paper, and worked as a globe-trotting reporter and war correspondent before rising to the highest levels of national newspapers, was hand picked by Andy Coulson for his role as deputy editor at NOTW, the Guardian reported.

The newspaper described him as "an unreconstructed old school journalist in the mould of the Sun's former editor Kelvin MacKenzie" adding that "Wallis acted as Coulson's enforcer, barking expletive-laden orders to staff and earning a reputation as an uncompromising taskmaster with an abrasive manner".

Nicknamed the Wolfman, Wallis reportedly asked not to have a pay rise in return for a new byline that read "The World's Number One Reporter" while reporting at the Daily Star.

Despite his grandstanding manner and reputation, Wallis has made no secret of the strain the charges and subsequent trial have had on him and his family. He said the trial cost him his 38 year marriage and brought distress to his two children and elderly in-laws.

While giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Wallis broke down when he revealed the extent of the stress he was under because of the prosecution.