Nick Davies's Blog, page 5

January 14, 2014

Prosecutors release footage of alleged plot involving Rebekah Brooks, Charlie Brooks and security adviser to conceal items

Prosecutors in the phone-hacking trial have released CCTV clips which they said revealed that Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and their security adviser, Mark Hanna, were hiding material from police who were planning to search the Brooks's London flat in the summer of 2011.

The clips, from nine different cameras, were played to the jury who have been told that the alleged plot ended with "an accident that was rather bad luck for those involved" – when a cleaner found some of the material, with the result that it was handed over to police.

The Crown also used text messages and "cell site" records, which track the movement of mobile phones, in their attempt to reconstruct 26 hours in the life of the Brooks couple, beginning a few minutes after noon on Sunday 17 July 2011 when Rebekah Brooks was arrested at Lewisham police station in south London.

The first CCTV images showed Charlie Brooks at 12.14 emerging from the lift in the basement car park beneath the couple's flat at Chelsea Harbour, west London, clutching a brown Jiffy bag and a laptop computer, and moving out of shot in the direction, the Crown says, of a green rubbish bin. Within less than a minute, he is seen walking back to the lift empty-handed.

At 12.15, the jury were told, Charlie Brooks texted an external security consultant, William Geddes, who three minutes later then called the security chief, Mark Hanna. An hour passed until 13.30 when, according to cell site data, a phone attributed to Hanna started moving from News International's old office in Wapping towards Chelsea Harbour, calling Charlie Brooks at 14.03. The second set of images shows Mark Hanna at 14.06 driving a black Range Rover into the basement car park at Chelsea Harbour, where he is met by Charlie Brooks. Hanna parks; Brooks passes him a brown briefcase and appears to gesture towards the rubbish bin area.

Hanna walks out of shot towards the bin area and then returns soon afterwards carrying a Jiffy bag and a laptop as well as the brown briefcase.

Less than an hour later, at 15.03, police started to search the Brooks's flat, while at 17.04, cameras in the car park caught the police search team leaving, carrying computers, boxes and bags.

Charlie Brooks and Mark Hanna then exchanged three texts and one phone call, the jury were told. Over the following four hours Hanna was in contact by phone and text with other members of his security team including Daryl Jorsling.

A fourth set of images, beginning at 21.29, showed Jorsling driving into the basement car park, taking a black bin bag from his car, walking out of shot to the area of the green rubbish bin and then walking back empty handed. The court has previously heard that the bin bag allegedly contained a brown briefcase, material that News International security thought "was safe to bring back".

At 21.30, the jury heard, Jorsling made a 15-second call to Charlie Brooks. CCTV images timed at 21.31 then showed Jorsling also taking two pizza boxes out of his car and handing them to a man who has been named only as Palmer, who then takes the lift from the apartment block to the car park and then back up into the building.

Jorsling at 21.37 texted his team leader, Dave Johnson: "Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Pizza delivered and chicken is in the pot." Johnson replied: "Hah! Fucking amateurs" and suggested they should have used a "dead letter box" or a "brush contact on the riverside". The court has previously heard that the pizza delivery was allegedly part of a cover story.Jorsling texted again to say he would see him in the morning, "wherever it may be, ha ha" to which Johnson replied: "Another fucking magical mystery tour."

In the small hours of the morning, at 00.31, Rebekah Brooks returned from Lewisham police station, and was caught on CCTV as she hugged Charlie.

The cameras were then dark until Monday morning when, having recorded the Brookses at 10.28 being driven away to their solicitors, they caught the car park cleaner, Mr Nascimento, driving his red mini-tractor, in a scene which the judge, Mr Justice Saunders, said was "a bit like the Magic Roundabout", as he hooked four green wheely bins onto the back, like train carriages.

At 10.45, the CCTV recorded him loading a black bin bag into one of the bins behind his tractor – the bag which, the Crown alleges, had been left the previous night by Daryl Jorsling. The court has previously heard that Mr Nascimento subsequently alerted his superiors.Finally, the cameras captured the scene at 12.48 as Charlie Brooks arrived back from the solicitors and went to the bin area while Rebekah Brooks waited by the car. Over the next half an hour, with the Brookses upstairs in their flat, the driver walks backwards and forwards to the bin area before going out to find Daryl Jorsling outside.

At 13.11, the two of them meet Charlie Brooks and a besuited official from the Chelsea Harbour complex, identified only as Mr Perkins. Mr Perkins is seen walking off camera.

By 14.10, the jury was told, police had been called and had taken possession of a brown briefcase and a laptop. Or, as one of the security men texted later that afternoon: "Filth all over the underground car park ref Pizzagate."

Rebekah Brooks, Charlie Brooks and Mark Hanna deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice by concealing computers and other material from police.

The trial continues.

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Published on January 14, 2014 15:04 • 22 views

January 9, 2014

Court hears that Brooks's resignation followed a chain of events that followed disclosure NoW had hacked Milly Dowler's phone

On the day she resigned as News International's chief executive in July 2011, Rebekah Brooks was officially declared "a person of interest" to police and escorted out of the building by security staff who then changed the locks on her office door, an Old Bailey court heard on Thursday.

Jane Viner, responsible for security at the company's headquarters, said she and security staff had taken Brooks from the tenth-floor executive area at the request of detectives who also searched her office that evening. Brooks carried nothing more than her handbag as she left. "She was quite upset and subdued," Viner told the jury at the phone-hacking trial. "It was very uncomfortable."

The court heard that Brooks's resignation followed a chain of events after the disclosure on 4 July that the News of the World had hacked the phone of the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002.

The following day, the company's head of security, Mark Hanna, emailed Brooks to tell her of his plans to deal with the media and police.

Hanna told her he had spoken to her husband, Charlie, who had agreed that it would be best if they stayed overnight at their flat in Chelsea rather than returning to their home in Oxfordshire.

"We will have in place the same process as before [team etc] who will notify me if they see the media around the area. I will then naturally let you know soonest. Likewise, it may be worth switching vehicles for the next few days. If this is a media only concern, I believe this should suffice. If police concern, we put in place the previous plan of entry and exit teams," Hanna wrote.

On the Saturday evening at the end of the week, Viner told the jury, when the final edition of the News of the World had been produced, she had supervised the sealing of the paper's second-floor office, from which staff were allowed to remove only personal belongings.

On the Sunday, she said, they had given a number to every desk, computer and set of under-desk drawers and transferred their contents to safe storage at News International's former HQ in Wapping.

The personal offices of the editor, Colin Myler, and other senior staff were sealed until they could be searched by detectives.

Viner said it was on the morning of the following Friday, 15 July, that she had learned of Brooks's resignation. Viner was then called to the office of News International's general manager, Will Lewis, who told her that the police wanted Brooks out of the building by lunchtime. At 11.50am, she had gone to Brooks's office with Lewis and the company's PR man, Simon Greenberg.

She had then explained to Brooks that, like the News of the World staff, she could take away only her personal belongings. "Then Mr Lewis asked me and Simon Greenberg and security staff to escort Mrs Brooks out of the building, which I did."

Earlier, the court heard that a prosecution witness, Brooks's former PA Deborah Keegan, had held a series of meetings with one of the defendants in the trial without asking police or prosecutors if that was acceptable. Keegan said she had met Cheryl Carter, who was Brooks' other PA and who is charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice, five or six times. Keegan said she had also texted Carter and possibly emailed and phoned her.

Andrew Edis QC, for the Crown, asked her: "Did you ask the police or the Crown Prosecution Service whether it was a good idea to meet?"

"No I did not," replied Keegan. "I was led to believe it was the correct way to do things. We certainly weren't doing anything perverting." She said they had met in open places such as hamburger bars and had ensured there was always a third party with them. "The point was to see my friend who I had not been allowed to see for a long time, who was like family."

Carter and Brooks deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice by destroying seven boxes allegedly containing 12 years of Brooks's notebooks.

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Published on January 09, 2014 11:43 • 6 views

January 8, 2014

Old Bailey jury hears Brooks was particularly upset by the hacking and tasked PAs to check her whereabouts at the time

Rebekah Brooks was particularly upset by the disclosure that the News of the World had hacked the voicemail of the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler and tasked her two personal assistants to check old diaries and bank records to see whether she had been in the country when it happened, an Old Bailey jury heard on Wednesday.

Giving evidence in the phone-hacking trial, one of the PAs, Deborah Keegan, described how she and her colleague, Cheryl Carter, would look after every detail of Brooks's personal life from ensuring she had a fresh bottle of water on her desk in the morning to booking her personal trainers in London and Oxford. "It was life management," she said.

The jury heard of emailed requests from Brooks to buy more moisturiser and face powder, to send a driver to pick up keys she had left in her flat, to obtain the original of a cartoon from the Times, and to book a table for her and Rupert Murdoch to have dinner at the Kingham Plough pub in Chipping Norton. Mrs Keegan had also emailed Brooks's mother at one point to reassure her that 'Becky' was well. "It was a tough atmosphere to work in because Rebekah was very demanding but we had a good working relationship."

Keegan recalled the mood in Brooks's office in July 2011 after the Dowler hacking was revealed: "She was particularly upset," she said. "Rightly so." Brooks had asked the two PAs to check whether she had been in the country at the time.

"If Rebekah asked for something, she would get it," she said. Brooks had not told them that the News of the World was to be closed that week: "We heard the same as everyone else, but there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in and out of Rebekah's office. We were aware of something."

The jury heard that on a typical day, one of the PAs would be in the office by 7am to open the post and make sure that Brooks's desk was ready with a bottle of water and a clean sheet of paper for her note-taking. As soon as Brooks arrived, the canteen would be told to bring up her breakfast. Several days a week, she would work out with her personal trainer, Zack, in the basement gym. When she was at home, she had a different trainer, Calum, and the PAs had arranged a joint bootcamp for Brooks and her husband, Charlie.

Keegan said her work as a PA would include booking Brooks's holidays, doing her shopping, organising cleaners at her home, looking after her cars, helping with her security, dealing with her family and supervising banking for her and Charlie.

She and Carter had access to Brooks's bank account, complete with her PIN, and would go to the HSBC bank on Mondays to draw out £200 in cash for her.

A "strictly private" box in the PAs' office contained a gun licence, a marriage certificate and share options while filing cabinets held Brooks's passport and driving licence, air mile records, Charlie Brooks's contracts, Cheltenham and Gloucester savings certificates, Barclays bank shares and records of investments in Morgan Stanley.

Keegan told the jury that she remembered a decluttering Sunday in the late summer of 2009 when Brooks was about to take over as chief executive of News International. She and Carter had filled bin bags with unwanted paperwork and sent other material to the company archive to be stored. She said James Murdoch had wanted a paperless office. One of the items later sent for storage, the jury has heard, was a portrait of James Murdoch.

Carter and Rebekah Brooks deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice by removing seven boxes containing Brooks's notebooks from the archive and destroying them. The trial continues.

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Published on January 08, 2014 11:50 • 9 views

January 7, 2014

Cheryl Carter and Brooks deny plotting to remove notebooks from company archive day after announcement of NoW closure

Police challenged Rebekah Brooks's personal assistant about "discrepancies" over her account of how seven boxes of notebooks came to disappear from News International, warning her at one point that she was facing a "sinister implication", a court heard on Tuesday.

Brooks and her PA, Cheryl Carter, who earned £66,000 in the post, deny plotting to remove the notebooks from the company archive in July 2011 on the day after it was announced that the News of the World was being closed down.

The jury in the phone-hacking trial on Tuesday heard tapes of Carter being interviewed by police in January 2012. She told detectives that most of the notebooks which were stored in the newspaper's archive in Enfield, north London, in September 2009, were her own.

The head of the archive, Nick Mays, had told the jury that internal records described the contents of the boxes as "notebooks from Rebekah Brooks, nee Wade" dated from 1995 to 2007.

Carter told police that Mays had called her twice in April and May 2011 asking her to remove the boxes because the archive was being downsized. She recalled saying to her fellow PA, Deborah Keegan, "where the fuck are we going to put them?"

Detectives challenged her with a formal statement made by Mays in which he said: "There is no corporate instruction for people to remove items from Enfield … I did not call Cheryl Carter to remove these seven boxes from the archive."

They also read a statement from Keegan which suggested she did not remember Mays making the calls.

Mays has told the jury that it was Carter who called him on the morning of Friday 8 July 2011, and that he noted her request in his diary: "Pls return Rebekah's notebooks."

In the taped interview, a detective sergeant, John Massey, challenged her over who had first suggested the notebooks be removed from the archive. "If it is you, we think there is some sinister implication there, that you are doing it to get rid of something, especially given it's the day after the News of the World announced that it will be closing."

Carter told the police that she had chosen that day in July to remove the notebooks because Brooks was on holiday on a boot camp with a personal trainer at her home near Oxford. "I had it in mind that I could leave my desk without Rebekah asking where I was going, why I was leaving my desk."

The jury have been told that the police claim to have "cell site" records indicating that Brooks's mobile phone was being used throughout that day in or around the News International office in east London.

She told detectives that there was no time pressure on removing the boxes: "I didn't want them back by a certain time. It was just when we could get them." The jury heard from Mays that, having originally assumed the boxes could be handed over on the following Monday, he had then been told – he thought by Carter – they had to be delivered that Friday afternoon.

Massey told Carter: "That is one of the key discrepancies here. That's what we want to clear up. Why are you hurrying things up, if indeed you have said that?" She replied: "I don't know what to say. I have no answer to that. I am sorry."

Mays told the jury that when he handed over the boxes to Carter, he had made a note that she had told him that they were not, in fact, Rebekah Brooks's.

Massey asked her: "Why are you telling him that kind of detail? Why are you clarifying the fact that 'it's actually my stuff, not Rebekah's?"

"I don't know,"she replied. "I can't answer that."

Carter told detectives that she had arranged for her son to take the boxes to her home where later she had torn up the notebooks and either thrown them away or recycled them, apart from three pads and a diary that belonged to Brooks, which she had returned to her.

The jury heard that Brooks also had in storage a portrait of James Murdoch, a framed Sun logo with signatures of staff, souvenir copies of front pages of the Sun and the News of the World, and a collection of silverware from the executive dining room which had been bought by her husband, Charlie.

The trial continues.

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Published on January 07, 2014 12:35 • 11 views

December 19, 2013

First evidence of hacking of royals as court sees transcripts of William calling future wife 'babykins' and making prank call to brother

The News of the World intercepted and recorded intimate phone messages left between Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton, the Old Bailey has heard.

The voicemails included William using a pet name for his future wife and describing to her how he had nearly been shot during a training exercise, and a message for his brother in which he put on a high-pitched voice and pretended to be Prince Harry's then girlfriend, Chelsy Davy.

Recordings of the messages were found by police in August 2006 when they searched the homes of the newspaper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, and its specialist private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire. On Thursday, at the phone-hacking trial, transcripts of the tapes were entered into evidence for the first time.

Prosecutors linked eight royal messages to internal News of the World emails, payment records and stories published by the paper in 2006.

In one message, left by William for Middleton on 26 January 2006 when he was a cadet at Sandhurst, he said he had just got back from a night navigation exercise: "I've been running around the woods of Aldershot chasing shadows and getting terribly lost, and I walked into some other regiment's ambush, which was slightly embarrassing because I nearly got shot. Not by live rounds but by blank rounds, which would be very embarrassing though."

He ended by saying that he would be on another exercise the following day, adding: "I might send a cheeky text message cos I might have my phone with me."

The next day, Goodman emailed his editor, Andy Coulson, to tell him of the story which, the jury were told, was then published in Goodman's Black Adder column. During the following week, Goodman and Coulson exchanged emails about payments for "Matey" who, the crown alleges, was Glenn Mulcaire. Goodman sent Coulson a list of stories for which "Matey" had been paid, including the item about William and the night exercise.

The jury were told of two other voicemails left by the prince for Middleton in January 2006. In one he told her he had just picked up her messages and added "Oh, my little babykins!" In the other, he told her he was feeling "a bit shitty" after a couple of nasty days on exercises and that he might try to go beagling – hare chasing – with friends later that day.

On 28 January, Goodman emailed Coulson to suggest a story about William beagling, adding that it was "going to be very tricky to stand up". Goodman suggested he might put it to St James's Palace's director of communications, Paddy Harverson: "Want me to put it to Paddy as a plain fact, eyewitness account? They visited the pub first so a punter could easily have seen them and called it in." Coulson, three minutes later, replied: "Yes."

The jury was shown the transcript of a recording found at Goodman's home in August 2006, in which he spoke to a palace press officer about the story, commenting that she sounded "worryingly like Rebekah Wade" and then arguing that the prince's beagling outing was against Sandhurst rules. That weekend, the jury were told, the News of the World published a story about William and the beagling which included the claim that he was in the habit of calling Middleton "Babykins".

On the evening of 23 February 2006, the prince left a message for Middleton: "It's now six o'clock, just gone six, but I don't think I'm probably going to be able to leave here till about seven. I've got about another hour worth of stuff to do, just little bits and pieces but hopefully i should be able to leave by seven at the latest so I'll give you a buzz when I'm in the car." He added that he hoped to be with her "by quarter to eight at the latest."

At 7.17 that evening, Goodman emailed his news editor, Ian Edmondson: "William is out of Sandhurst tonight. He is due to leave 7ish and is heading straight to see Kate. From the inf I've got, it looks like he's going to her parents' place near Reading. The London address is just too far away for the ETA."

On 9 April 2006, the News of the World published a story headlined "Chelsy tears strip off Harry" which claimed Davey had been angry with the prince for flirting with a stripper in a club. The story claimed William had left a message on his brother's phone, pretending to be Chelsy, saying: "I see you had a lovely time without me. But I miss you so much, you big ginger."

The jury were told that in August 2006, police searching Mulcaire's home found a tape on which a male, speaking in a female voice, left a message on Harry's phone: "Hi. It's Chelsy here. I just want to say I miss you so much and I think you're the best-looking ginger I've ever seen."

Three of the messages were left for royal staff. One was from a doctor who had been treating Prince Harry for minor injuries, which was left on the phone of the prince's personal private secretary, Helen Asprey. The injuries became the subject of a story by Goodman. Two were left for Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, private secretary to Harry and Prince Charles. In one, Harry asked for help with an essay at Sandhurst, a request which was published soon afterwards by Goodman, the jury heard.

In the other message left for Lowther-Pinkerton, the commandant of Sandhurst, General Andrew Ritchie, said he wanted to chat about "an incident at the ball last night". On 14 April 2006, Goodman emailed his deputy editor, Neil Wallis, reporting that Ritchie had made the call the previous day and claiming that "William and his group were massively drunk and upsetting other guests with their braying Hooray Henry antics. One of his friends was strutting around the hall pretending to be a brigadier… William himself was sent upstairs to bed before the ball ended."

Wallis replied: "Remind me how we know this is true." Dealing with the same story, Edmondson emailed Goodman suggesting he add an extra detail about the prince's behaviour, to which Goodman replied: "That's a bit too much knowledge to expose to a wider readership." The News of the World then published a story about the incident at the ball. The jury were told that a payment of £3,000 was subsequently authorised for the story for a source known as "Alexander", who is said by the crown to be Mulcaire.

The jury were shown further internal emails including one from Goodman to Coulson, dated 23 February 2005, in which he claimed that the Sun had discussed a story with Harverson and that it had then leaked to the Daily Mail. "The Sun are keen to blame Harverson," he wrote. "He's a complete halfwit, but what would leaking a Sun tale get him? The Mail is never going to cut Charles a break no matter how much help Paddy gives them. More likely to be closer to home. Or someone hacking Paddy's voicemail? I can see if thats poss or if its massively password protected."

Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner and Rebekah Brooks [formerly Wade] deny conspiring to intercept communications. The jury began a Christmas break on Thursday night. The trial is due to continue on Monday 6 January.

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Published on December 19, 2013 11:26 • 36 views

December 18, 2013

Stuart Kuttner shown message he wrote discussing Dowler's voicemails, having said he had 'no knowledge' of hacking

The former manager of the News of the World, Stuart Kuttner, told detectives he had "absolutely no knowledge" of the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone before being confronted with an email in which he quoted the missing schoolgirl's mobile number and discussed voicemails that had been left for her, the Old Bailey heard on Wednesday.

In interview transcripts read to the jury in the phone-hacking trial, Kuttner originally told detectives his only involvement in the story of Milly Dowler, who was abducted on 21 March 2002, had been to visit Surrey police to see if the News of the World could offer assistance, possibly with a reward. He did not recall any reporter reporting to him on the story, he added.

Asked if he had any knowledge of the hacking of Milly's phone, Kuttner replied: "Absolutely not." He suggested he was not sure of the meaning of "hacking" and added that all he knew of the incident was what he had read in recent newspapers: "It sounded to me like quite a disturbing and appalling event." When detectives asked if he had been aware of the content of any of the missing girl's messages, he said: "Not at all. No."

The detectives then showed him an email which he had written to Surrey police on 20 April 2002, challenging their denial of a story that the News of the World had attempted to confirm the previous week. Kuttner had written: "We passed on information about messages left on Amanda Dowler's mobile phone." He included the phone number.

His email continued: "In particular, we referred to a message from Monday's Recruitment Agency at Wellington, Telford, apparently left on Amanda's phone on the morning of March 27th. In addition we advised of other messages left on this number and we offered a copy of a tape recording of the messages and other assistance."

Questioned in 2011, Kuttner said he could not recall who had provided the voicemail messages or whether he personally had listened to them. "I don't know. Presumably this is information that has been given to me by somebody," he said. "I don't know now, nine years on, how the paper had this tape and information."

One of the interviewing officers, DC Andrea Fletcher, said: "The whole point of this conversation around Milly Dowler is that you knew that her voicemails had been hacked. You, as managing editor, were in possession of information that confirmed her voicemails had been hacked. That information had been recorded and you offered that to the police. You know it. You have it. It's there in black and white."

Kuttner replied simply: "Yeah."

In a later interview, Kuttner gave detectives a written statement about the email. "I have no memory of it at all," he said. "I am unable to recall the circumstances or who provided me with the information contained in that communication, and I do not believe it is helpful or right to speculate." He added: "I have never directly or indirectly asked anyone to access or hack into the mobile phone voicemails of the late Milly Dowler or of any other persons."

Kuttner, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson deny conspiring to intercept communications. The trial continues.

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Published on December 18, 2013 11:30 • 11 views

December 17, 2013

Old Bailey hears that former managing editor of the News of the World denied charges against him during police interviews

The former managing editor of the News of the World, Stuart Kuttner, told detectives that he had never knowingly been involved in hacking phones or bribing police and was "utterly appalled" by the allegations he was facing, the Old Bailey heard on Tuesday.

In transcripts of interviews that were read to the jury in the phone-hacking trial, Kuttner told detectives on the day of his arrest in August 2011: "I'm shattered with having offered, quite properly, to come here to fill in gaps, to find myself on the end of what, in my view, are utterly unfounded allegations."

He recalled the arrest five years earlier of the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, as "the most traumatic in my life in newspapers. It was an appalling day. Subsequently, much more recently, the day the News of the World closed was equally traumatic in a different way. And today exceeds both of them."

The detectives asked him whether he had conspired to hack phones with six named senior journalists from the News of the World – Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who have denied the charge in this trial; Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, and James Weatherup who have pleaded guilty; and Ian Edmondson, who has denied the charge and is to be tried at a later date.

Kuttner said: "I neither conspired with Rebekah Brooks nor with anybody nor had any part in phone hacking."

He added: "I have never knowingly bribed a policeman – which appears to be among your allegations – and I have never knowingly played any part whatsoever in the hacking or bugging of anybody's telephone... I'm utterly appalled at the allegations made against me personally."

His lawyer told detectives that since retiring from the News of the World in 2009 he had suffered a heart attack and a brain-stem stroke, which had impaired his memory. Kuttner said he did not recall authorising payments to the paper's specialist hacker Glenn Mulcaire who had been recorded in paperwork variously as Paul Williams, Matey, John Jenkins, Jane Street, David Alexander, Nine Consultancy and Euro Research and Information Services.

He told detectives that, although he had become an executive at the paper, "I think I have the word 'reporter' inscribed on my heart." He only rarely became involved in covering stories, he said, but recalled an occasion when he had done so because Clive Goodman would not.

"He wouldn't stir himself to go out and cover stories," he told his interviewers. "That seems to be a negation of a reporter's role."

The result was that he and Rebekah Brooks had decided to do the job for Goodman, which involved taking a train to Paris.

He continued: "I had been in touch for some months with a man called Johnnie Bryant. He had had a relationship with the Duchess of York and he had come round to the view that in return for a lot of money, he would sell his story."

On the train to Paris they had found Neil Wallis, pursuing the same story on behalf of the Sun."Unfortunately, whoever ran Eurostar managed to make it the longest ever train journey to Paris, 17 hours. Waterloo to Paris – 17 hours!"

Kuttner, Brooks and Coulson all deny conspiring to intercept communications. The trial continues.

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Published on December 17, 2013 11:15 • 12 views

December 12, 2013

Phone-hacking trial hears monarch was concerned that officers were pilfering savoury snacks inside Buckingham Palace

The Queen was concerned that police were eating all the nibbles left out for guests before the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, it has been claimed at the phone-hacking trial.

The monarch's apparent unhappiness emerged in an email that was read out in court from the News of the World's then royal editor, Clive Goodman, to his editor, Andy Coulson, which began: "Queen furious about police stealing bowls of nuts and nibbles left out for her in the BP/Queen's corridor. She has a very savoury tooth and staff leave out cashews, Bombay Mix almonds etc."

The Queen evidently had turned detective to catch the police. "She started marking the bowls to see when the levels dipped," the email continued.

"Probl is that police on patrol eat the lot … Memo now gone around to all palace cops telling them to keep their sticky fingers out."

Separately the court heard that Goodman had requested a total of 221 payments to two sources whom he described in emails to Coulson and other executives as police officers working at royal palaces.

Internal paperwork recorded them under the names of David Farish and Ian Anderson.

Det Insp David Kennett told the court he had visited the address given for Farish and found that it was a multi-occupancy block of flats and that, questioning residents, he could find no trace of a Mr Farish.

The address recorded for Anderson had produced a similar result, and, at the end of their inquiries, police had been unable to identify either man. "In short summary,"said DI Kennett, "they don't appear to exist."

The court was told that Farish and Anderson were paid to provide internal palace phone directories including "the green book" which lists the private lines of members of the royal family.

The court heard that Sir Michael Peat, former private secretary to the Prince of Wales, had made a statement to police about "what I understand to be the fairly long-standing practice of staff (or police) in the household selling copies of the green book to the press."

Sir Michael told the jury: "It was a document that was sent round to several hundred people's homes. It was a widely distributed document.

"We were of the view that there was a substantial risk that the document would get into hands for which it was not intended."

He was one of several in the royal household who had removed his home address from the book as a precaution, he said.

The jury heard that "Farish" and "Anderson" were also paid for stories over a period from early 2001 to May 2006 including ones about the "chaos" between Buckingham Palace and Clarence House as Prince Charles tried to organise his wedding and the Queen complaining about an alarm keeping her awake at Balmoral.

There were also stories about one of the palaces being swept for bugs, as well as the Queen's success in catching out police who were stealing her nuts.

The jury at the Old Bailey was also told that one of the defendants, Ian Edmondson, had been removed from the trial on the grounds of ill health.

Peat told the jury of efforts to improve the relationship between Fleet Street and Prince Charles.

"Certain sections of the media have used him over many years to sell papers and if being hostile served their purpose, that is what will happen.

"An attempt was made to improve the service that he and his family got from their press office, to make sure that his press office were more effective."

Sir Michael said he remembered speaking to both Brooks and Coulson and that Goodman may have been present. Asked if he had given Goodman his mobile phone number, he said: "It's unlikely but not inconceivable."

Mr Justice Saunders said Edmondson's fitness to continue to face trial had been the subject of medical reports. "The consensus of opinion of doctors instructed both by the defendant and the prosecution is that he is currently unfit."

It is not anticipated that it will be long before he is fit to continue but it will be several weeks, and there can be no guarantee that at the end of that period of time he will be fit.

"Bearing in mind the current estimate of the length of this trial, I do not think it is appropriate to adjourn to wait for his recovery and accordingly I shall discharge you from giving a verdict in his case. "

Edmondson, who has been absent from the dock for some days, had denied one count of intercepting communications.

Two former editors of the News of the World, Rebekah Brooks and Coulson, and a former managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, continue to face the same charge.

All three have denied it. Brooks, Coulson and Goodman deny charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office by making payments to public officials. The trial continues.

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Published on December 12, 2013 17:19 • 20 views

December 10, 2013

Old Bailey told that 15 royal phone directories were found by police when they searched Clive Goodman's home

Police took more than five years to warn Buckingham Palace that confidential directories with the royal family's private phone numbers had been found in the home of the News of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman, the Old Bailey heard on Tuesday.

The jury in the phone-hacking trial was told that a total of 15 royal phone directories were found by police in August 2006 when they arrested Goodman and searched his home in Putney, south west London and it was not until January 2012 that Palace officials were informed. Since then, the number of directories in circulation had been "dramatically reduced".

The disclosure came as the Crown began to present its case that Clive Goodman and his former editor, Andy Coulson, conspired to commit misconduct in public office by agreeing to pay Palace police officers to supply the directories. Both deny the charge. The evidence opened a door on the private world of Palace life.

The jury heard that among those whose numbers were listed in the directories were the Keeper of the Privy Purse, The Lord Warden of the Stannaries, equerries, ladies-in-waiting, gentleman ushers, extra gentleman ushers and the Swan Warden who proved to be a professor in Oxford.

Michelle Light, head of telephony for the royal family at Buckingham Palace, told the court that some 1,200 copies of a directory containing 2,000 phone numbers for royal staff would be produced by the Palace's in-house printer.Seven of these with various dates were found in Goodman's home. Light said she was not informed of this until January 2012.

Jonathan Spencer, deputy controller of The Lord Chamberlain's office, said that some 900 copies of a "Green Book", containing private numbers for the royal family and senior staff, would also be produced by the Palace printer. Each of these was marked "Restricted Document" on the front cover with a request that it "should be kept in a safe place and not shown to unauthorised persons. On receipt, please destroy your previous edition."

They were not classified as secret, he said, but they were confidential. "We would never send it to an unauthorised person, nor would we want it to be in the possession of such a person."

Eight Green Books, dated between August 1988 and October 2002, were found in Goodman's home. Spencer said he was not told of this until November 2012.

Since being informed by police, he told the court, the Lord Chamblerlain had decided the Green Book should no longer be sent to external staff and sent only in smaller numbers to internal staff. "We have decided to reduce the distribution dramatically right across the piece," he said.

One of the directories with staff extension numbers which was found at Goodman's house was discovered to be carrying the fingerprint of a retired officer, Michael Godfrey, who told the court that he had often worked with a porter on the tradesman's entrance of Windsor Castle, known as The Side Door, and that on night shifts, when the porter was not there, he would have used the directory to check on visitors' credentials.

One of the Green Books found at Goodman's home was found to carry the indented imprint of the signature of a second retired officer, Gregory Gillham, who had worked as a protection sergeant at Buckingham Palace. before becoming head of police operations at Kensington Palace.

He said the Green Book was kept secure, he would not expect to find one lying around, and that he would dispose of an old one by tearing it into quarters and throwing them into a confidential waste sack. "I worked for the royal household for a long time," he said. "The protection of the royal family was paramount."

It was not suggested that either officer had supplied Goodman with any directory. The trial continues.

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Published on December 10, 2013 16:21 • 20 views

December 5, 2013

Court hears Sun editor approved funds to army secretariat insider for material and to separate source for royal in a bikini

Rebekah Brooks personally authorised a series of payments to a military source who spent eight years selling information to the Sun, earning a total of £100,000, an Old Bailey court heard.

The jury in the phone-hacking trial was told that Bettina Jordan-Barber worked for the army secretariat in Andover, Hants, where she had been specially vetted to have access to sensitive information so that she could prepare briefings for government ministers and for the Ministry of Defence press office.

The court heard that she would collect payments from the Sun in cash through a branch of the Thomas Cook travel agency in Camberley, Surrey. It is agreed by all sides in the case that between January 2004 and August 2012, she received a total of £100,000 from the newspaper. As editor, Rebekah Brooks personally authorised 11 payments totalling £38,000.

The jury were shown emails from a Sun reporter who habitually began his messages to Brooks with the words "Morning, boss" or "My dear boss", before summarising two or three stories which had been provided by "my number one military contact" or "my ace military contact". The reporter asked for payments of between £200 and £4,000 for each story, frequently adding that these were "cheap at the price". Brooks replied to 11 requests, agreeing to all of them.

Headlines on the stories shown to the jury included "Mucky major's a sex swinger" about an officer using a dating website, "Major feels privates' privates" about an officer accused of sexual assault and "The Lust Post" about a girl cadet who had been sacked for having sex with a sergeant. The biggest single payment, of £4,000, was for a story about an illegal immigrant who had smuggled himself into Sandhurst military academy by hiding next to the toilet in a coach, headlined "Loo Goes There?".

The jury was shown internal Sun paperwork which allegedly traced payments being made after Brooks had given her authority. In one case, a newsroom secretary forwarded a request for Jordan-Barber to be paid with the message "Please delete this email afterwards".

In one message to Brooks, dated in November 2008, the Sun reporter followed up his request for payments to his military contact with a suggestion that "my very good prison contact" should also be paid £4,000 for supplying a story about an al-Qaida inmate who was training to become a standup comic. Brooks emailed in reply: "Fine."

Separately, the jury heard that Brooks authorised a payment of £4,000 for a picture of Prince William dressed in a grass skirt and a bikini top, taken when he went to an end-of-term fancy dress party during his time as a cadet at Sandhurst in June 2006.

The court was told that the prince was known to staff at Sandhurst as Officer Cadet Wales and that the organisation of the party in the academy's cricket pavilion was seen as a test of cadets' leadership skills. Guests had been allowed to take photographs.

Following the party, a Sun reporter emailed an executive: "My best contact at Sandhurst – who has provided a string of great stuff over a period of months – is offering us a picture of William at a James Bond party dressed as a Bond girl. He is wearing a bikini and an open Hawaiian shirt." The reporter went on to explain that the picture belonged to William's platoon commander, adding "The chap who has the picture wants £4,000 up front … It will open the door for future exclusives and info … I already have the guy with the picture over a barrel because I know his identity."

Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said the picture was not published, but the Sun ran a "mockup" of it, with William's head superimposed on someone else's body and the headline "Willy in a Bikini" in September 2006.

The article claimed "Prince William caused a stir at a Sandhurst 007 bash by dressing as a Bond girl" and added his then girlfriend Kate Middleton attended the party wearing a wetsuit and carrying a toy gun.

The executive had forwarded this message to Brooks, asking: "What do you think, Boss?". Brooks had replied: "OK."

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, on behalf of Rebekah Brooks, suggested that this email referred to three different people: the Sun's contact at Sandhurst; the platoon commander to whom the picture belonged; and "the chap who has the picture" who was not the platoon commander but "a third man". Detective Inspector David Kennett replied: "There's nothing there to suggest there's a third person."

Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, asked DI Kennett whether Brooks had mentioned this "third man" when she was interviewed by police in October 2012. Kennett said: "This is the first time that the concept has ever come to me."

The jury heard that in a separate email exchange, in April 2006, the Sun's picture desk had asked Brooks to authorise a payment of £1,000 to the same contact at Sandhurst, explaining that the payment had to be made in cash because "he went in and took a picture off the wall, so he doesn't want it traced back to him". The court was told that there is no record of Brooks authorising that payment.

Brooks denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. The trial continues on Monday.

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Published on December 05, 2013 12:04 • 19 views

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