REBEKAH Brooks was paid £10.8m after she resigned as chief executive of News International at the height of the phone hacking scandal, it has emerged.

But the former editor of The Sun and the News of the World, who quit in July 2011, could be forced to repay millions if she is convicted of criminal charges relating to her time at the company.

Details of the substantial settlement came as it emerged the editor of The Times, a sister News International publication, had announced his resignation. James Harding will leave within a month and be replaced by Sunday Times editor John Witherow.

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The pay-off figure was included in accounts filed by NI Group Ltd, the company that controls Rupert Murdoch's British publishing stable, including his newspapers and the Harper Collins British book business.