24/07/2012 10:14 BST | Updated 24/07/2012 10:57 BST

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson 'Distressed' By Milly Dowler Phone Hacking Charge

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have vigorously denied accusations over phone hacking, with both expressing anger and disappointment charges relating Milly Dowler.

Brooks, the former chief executive of News International will face two charges - including one relating to the alleged accessing of Milly Dowler's phone messages.

But in a statement on Tuesday morning Brooks said: "I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship.

rebekah brooks

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has denied the charges of phone hacking

"I am distressed and angry that the CPS have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage.

"The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime. I will vigorously defend these allegations."

Coulson, who edited the News of the World between 2003 and 2007, also said he was particularly distressed by the charge that he hacked the phone of the murdered schoolgirl.

He is facing additional allegations in relation to hacking into the voicemails of former Labour ministers David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and George Best's son Calum, as well as one general phone-hacking charge.

He said in a statement: "I am extremely disappointed by the CPS decision today. I will fight these allegations when they eventually get to court.

"I would like to say one thing today about the Milly Dowler allegation. Anyone who knows me, or who worked with me, would know that I wouldn't, and more importantly that I didn't, do anything to damage the Milly Dowler investigation.

"At the News of the World we worked on behalf of the victims of crime, particularly violent crime, and the idea that I would sit in my office dreaming up schemes to undermine investigations is simply untrue."

Neville Thurlbeck, former chief reporter of the News of the World, who has also been charged, said he was "surprised and disappointed".

"Following today’s announcement that I am to be charged in relation to Operation Weeting, I would like to thank my family and friends for their undying support during the past 15 months.

"My thanks also to my lawyer Henri Brandman for his wise and calm counsel during the police investigation.

"I am most surprised and disappointed in the outcome. I have always operated under the strict guidance and advice of News International’s lawyers and under the instructions of the newspaper’s editors which will be abundantly clear when this matter comes to court.

"I will vigorously fight to clear my reputation."

The eight people, who face a total of 19 charges, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court at a later date.