Hacking trial round-up: Enough scandal and intrigue to fill an edition of the News of the World - Press Gazette

Hacking trial round-up: Enough scandal and intrigue to fill an edition of the News of the World

The trial of Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and six others for conspiracy to hack and make illegal payments has already provided enough sensational material to fill an edition of the News of the World.
As the trial closes for Christmas, here's a round-up of the main allegations, evidence and other news lines that we have heard so far (pictures from Reuters):
  • Celebrities, politicians and public figures had their voicemails targeted, according to the prosecution
  • Former News of the World editors, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks had a six-year affair
  • 'No evidence' Milly Dowler voicemails were not deleted to give false hope to her parents
  • Private detective Glenn Mulcaire paid over £100k for his work for News of the World
  • Ian Edmondson declared 'unfit' for trial and will be tried by a different jury at a later date
  • Private Eye cover was 'tasteless' but not contempt of court

The charges

The trial may take six months. Here is what the eight accused are charged with:

Brooks, 45, of and Coulson, 45, fare accused of conspiring with former News of the World head of news Ian Edmondson, 44, from Raynes Park, and the tabloid's ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, from Woodford Green, Essex, and others to illegally access voicemails between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006.

Ex-NotW and Sun editor Brooks is also charged with two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office (pay public officials)  and two counts  of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, from Chelmsford in Essex.

The second count alleges that Brooks, her husband Charles Brooks and former head of security at News International Mark Hanna conspired together and with others between 15 and 19 July 2011 to pervert the course of justice, through hiding and moving evidence such as her notebooks.

Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with the tabloid's former royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office – one between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003; and the other between 31 January and 3 June 2005.

'Tasteless' Private Eye

Private Eye's Rebekah Brooks front page was tasteless (in the words of the judge) but not contempt of court.

Prosecution opening

Former News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire (pictured below) and former News of the World journalists Neville Thurlbeck, Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup have pleaded guilty to phone-hacking.

News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire allegedly hacked the phones of rival journalists as a “nice easy and cheap” way of “scooping” the opposition.

Coulson and Brooks had a six-year affair between 1998 and 2006, a period covered by the hacking conspiracy charge. 

The News of the World investigated a lead on Milly Dowler's possible location taken from an voicemail message themselves, waiting days to pass that information on to police.

The News of the World learned of Home Secretary David Blunkett's affair by hacking his phone, leading then editor Andy Coulson to confront him personally.

Andy Coulson okayed a payment of £1,000 in cash for a copy of the Queen's private telephone directory.

'Do his phone'

When the News of the World was investigating Calum Best in 2006 Coulson instructed journalists to "do his phone".

Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman kept a dossier of incriminating emails showing senior News International figures were aware of phone-hacking.

Rebekah Brooks authorised a payment of £4,000 for a picture of Prince William in a bikini and while editor of The Sun she was alleged to have a contact who gave out details of dead soldiers before they were officially released by the MoD.

Rebekah and the vanishing notebooks

Rebekah's notebooks from the years 1995 to 2007 were removed from the News UK archive by her assistant Cheryl Carter and have never been seen again.

It has been acknowledged by the prosecution that News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire did not delete the voicemail messages on Milly Dowler's voicemail which gave her family false hope that she was alive.

'Broadsword calling danny boy'

Two security guards joked via text message about perverting the course of justice when they dropped off a black bag containing a laptop and other items at Brooks' Oxfordshire home.  One said: "Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Pizza delivered and the chicken's in the pot." To which the colleague replied: "Ha, f****** amateurs. We should have done a DLB (dead letter box) or brush contact on the riverside."

Defence opening speech 

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was himself a victim of phone-hacking.

Prosecution evidence

News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner told Surrey Police that the News of the World had accessed Milly Dowler's voicemail messages in a bid to find her, on 13 April 2002.  Editor Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) was in Dubai at the time but was said to be in regular contact with colleagues. 

A News of the World reporter told Surrey Police he was “100 percent certain” Milly Dowler had travelled to Telford for work when she disappeared.

Rebekah was in seven-star Dubai hotel when hacking took place

At the time when the News of the World hacked Milly Dowler's phone, Brooks was staying in a seven-star hotel in Dubai with her then husband Ross Kemp. The stay had been arranged by her deputy Andy Coulson (who we now know was also her lover at the time). She was heard talking to her office on the phone on 13 April.

The News of the World hacked Sven Goran Eriksson's phone over a four-year period.

The News of the World and the Mail on Sunday paid Sven's lover Faria Alam £300,000 for a kiss and tell story. The paper found out about the affair by hacking the phone messages of the couple.

David Blunkett (Reuters)

Wayne Rooney's mobile password was Stella Artois

Recordings of 330 phone messages left by former home secretary David Blunkett to his then lover Kimberly Quinn were recovered from a safe in the office of News of the World lawyer Tom Crone. Then chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck communicated with Glenn Mulcaire 11 times in the run-up to a story revealing the affair and referred to the lovers as Noddy and Big Ears.

Wayne Rooney (Reuters)

News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire investigated footballer Wayne Rooney over reports he had sex with a prostitute in 2004. The court heard that Rooney's password for his mobile phone account was "Stella Artois". 

"Rot in hell"

The jury heard voice recordings from former home secretary David Blunkett who wanted whoever was leaking details about his private life to "rot in hell". Some 330 voicemails left for editor of The Spectator, Kimberly Quinn, who had a three-year relationship with the politician, were found in a News of the World lawyer's safe.

A former model who was paid by the News of the World for celebrity information gave evidence to the trial claiming she became pregnant with Calum Best's child the night before George Best's funeral, and that he was paid £3,000 for two stories on his father's death in 2005.

Glenn Mulcaire continued to be paid by the News of the World even after he had been arrested, as payments authorised by former managing editor, Stuart Kutter show. However, other evidence showed Rebekah Brooks did not authorise any of the payments to Mulcaire.

He was said to have requested a pin code reset on UKIP leader Nigel Farage's voicemail in order to try and determine whether or not he was having an affair, the court was told. 

Former home secretary Charles Clarke was forced to deny he was having an affair with his assistant and threatened to sue The Sun for libel if it published such allegations.

Singer Kerry Katona was hacked on Christmas Day 2005 by Glenn Mulcaire, the court were told, before stories appeared about her in the paper over the next year.

Brooks: "very demanding"

As editor of News of the World, it was said that Brooks (then Wade) was "very demanding" and insisted on high standards at all times, one former News International lawyer told the court.

Mulcaire's role in the special investigations team was generally known, the court was told by a sports journalist who quoted Mulcaire.

Even ex-News of the World deputy editor, Neil Wallis had his voicemails targeted while he was in the building, according to phone logs from News International.


Piers Morgan told Rebekah Brooks he knew about her splash as he had been listening to her voicemails, the court were told by a witness who attended a dinner party with them in 2003.

Brooks also told ex-wife of star golfer, Colin Montogomerie, that it was "easy" to hack phones, and that she was surprised at how few celebrities had changed their pins – the court heard.

Former royal editor of the News of the World Clive Goodman sent an email to his editor Andy Coulson regarding the amount of traffic on Prince Harry's phone from girlfriend Chelsea. Despite the fact he was not allowed to use his phone while in training at Sandhurstm she was still "blitzing" him with calls and texts, the email said.

The court heard that the Queen was annoyed with police officers snacking on her nuts, according to emails between royal editor Clive Goodman, and Andy Coulson. A memo went around to the police to keep their fingers out after she started marking the bowls. 

Former News of the World news editor, Ian Edmondson was declared medically unfit to take part in the hacking trial, and will tried by a separate jury at a later date.

The judge told the jury to ignore a Labour MP's "deeply prejudicial" Christmas card featuring Brooks, which went viral on Twitter.

Former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner told the court he "never knowingly" bribed a policeman or hacked a phone. The next day, the jury heard that 72-year-old Kuttner had "no recollection" of the emails he sent to Surrey police over Milly Dowler's voicemails, though he did not deny the contents of them. "I have been plunged into a nightmare," he said.

He also said that paying Glenn Mulcaire £100,000 a year was the most "cost-effective" way of employing him.

The jury were read out transcripts from voicemails between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, confirming speculation that the News of the the World hacked Catherine Middleton's phone.

The trial is expected to resume in the New Year on 6 January.



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