The News of the World was a national red top newspaper published in the United Kingdom from 1843 to 2011. It was at one time the biggest selling English language newspaper in the world, and at closure still had one of the highest English language circulations. Originally established as a broadsheet by John Browne Bell, the Bells sold to Henry Lascelles Carr in 1891; in 1969 it was bought from the Carrs by Rupert Murdoch's media firm News Limited. Reorganised into News International, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation, it was transformed into a tabloid in 1984 and became the Sunday sister paper of The Sun. The newspaper concentrated on celebrity-based scoops and populist news. Its fondness for sex scandals gained it the nicknames News of the Screws and Screws of the World. It had a reputation for exposing national or local celebrities as drug users, sexual peccadilloes, or criminals, setting up insiders and journalists in disguise to provide either video or photographic evidence, and phone hacking in ongoing police investigations. Sales averaged 2,812,005 copies per week in October 2010.
From 2006, allegations of phone hacking began to engulf the newspaper. These culminated in the revelation on 4 July 2011 that, nearly a decade earlier, a private investigator hired by the newspaper had intercepted and deleted the voicemail of missing British teenager Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered. A Scotland Yard spokesperson later admitted at the Leveson Inquiry that it had not been a private investigator who had deleted Dowler's voicemail.
Amid a public backlash and the withdrawal of advertising, News International announced the closure of the newspaper on 7 July 2011. The scandal deepened when the paper was alleged to have hacked into the phones of families of British service personnel killed in action. Senior figures on the newspaper have been held for questioning by police investigating the phone hacking and corruption allegations. Arrested on 8 July 2011 were former editor Andy Coulson and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, the latter jailed for phone hacking in 2007. The former executive editor Neil Wallis was arrested on 15 July 2011 and former editor Rebekah Brooks, the tenth person held in custody, on 17 July 2011.