Ian Edmondson
Ian Edmondson originally pleaded not guilty to phone-hacking chargesGetty

Former News of the World editor Ian Edmondson has been sentenced to eight months in jail after admitting to phone hacking.

Edmondson is the last person to be sentenced of all those who were convicted in the phone hacking trial, one of the longest and most expensive in British history.

The 45-year-old originally denied conspiracy to intercept voicemails between 2000 and 2006 ahead of the trial, but changed his plea 16 months later in October 2014.

He began the trial with the other defendants, including the paper's former editor and ex-Conservative Party director of communications Andy Coulson and private detective Glenn Mulcaire, but was ruled unfit to continue in December 2013 as he was in the "grips of a deteriorating medical condition".

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hack phones with Mulcaire after he was ruled fit to stand trial. The court heard how Edmondson acted as a "tasker" who told Mulcaire whose messages to intercept.

Edmondson's barrister claimed in mitigation he made "several persistent and strenuous attempts" to get Mulcaire sacked over fears his "invaluable" services to the News of the World were costing the paper too much.

Despite this, during the trial it emerged nearly a quarter of all the phones Mulcaire hacked came from Edmondson's instructions, including former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, Sir Paul McCartney and actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller.

The Old Bailey heard how edmondson also hacked the phone of of 7/7 London bomb survivor Professor John Tulloch.

Upon sentencing, Judge Justice Saunders said: "Accessing voicemails is contrary the ethics of journalism and any good journalist knew that he should not be doing it.

"Mr Edmondson's involvement in phone hacking is clear on the evidence.

"The list of victims of hacking with whom Edmondson was involved included celebrities, politicians and one person who was famous because of his links with the royal family.

"Taken together they amount to a substantial invasion of privacy which has caused distress to many people, the majority of whom cannot be accused of courting publicity."

Saunders added Edmondson played no part in the hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemail which led to the Sunday paper's closure.

Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty at the Old Bailey. Former NotW chief correspondent Neville Thurlbeck and news editor Greg Miskiw were both handed six-month sentences after admitting phone-hacking charges, while Mulcaire, assistant news editor James Weatherup and former reporter Dan Evans all received suspended sentences.

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and the rest of the defendants were cleared of all charges.