Three senior journalists at the defunct News of the World tabloid, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, have pleaded guilty to charges related to phone-hacking, according to a UK prosecutor.

Lawyer Andrew Edis said on Wednesday that former news editor Greg Miskiw, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, and former reporter James Weatherup all entered guilty pleas ahead of this week's high-profile phone hacking trial.

The trial of two of Murdoch's former editors was heard on Wednesday.

Rebekah Brooks, Murdoch's former British newspaper chief, and Prime Minister David Cameron's former media head Andy Coulson are on trial at London's Old Bailey court accused of conspiring to illegally access voicemail messages on mobile phones.

The defendants all deny the charges, but Edis said that the guilty pleas already entered show “there was a conspiracy which involved a significant number of people”.

Their guilty pleas, which had not previously been reportable, are the first public admissions by former News of the World journalists since police launched an inquiry in 2011 into allegations that staff on the Murdoch paper had hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians and victims of crime.

Source: Agencies