NoW paid policeman 'standard price' of £1,000 for the Queen's phone book, court told - Press Gazette

NoW paid policeman 'standard price' of £1,000 for the Queen's phone book, court told

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson received an email claiming a Royal policeman would hand over the Queen’s phone book for “the standard price” of £1,000, the phone-hacking trial has heard.

The email from former News of the World Royal editor Clive Goodman described the book as “incredibly useful”.

Andrew Edis, continuing his opening speech, to the jury read out the email from Goodman to Coulson written on 24 January 2003.

The email said: “Andy – one of our royal policemen (St James Palace) has obtained the brand new green book, the telephone directory with all the home numbers of the Royal Family and their household staff.

"Incredibly useful and he'll be extremely handy in the Peat Affair tale. The standard price is £1,000."

The Peat story concerned a false allegation that a former aide to the Prince of Wales Sir Michael Peat was having an affair.

In the version of the message found on Goodman's computer, but apparently not received by Coulson, another paragraph said: "I think that we should have the book and the goodwill that goes with it but I am keen to avoid Round Two with the Man Ed [managing editor Stuart Kuttner].

"I'm not criticising Stuart at all, but these people will not be paid in anything other than cash because if they're discovered selling stuff to us they end up on criminal charges, as could we."

Coulson replied to the shorter message, questioning why he had recently signed off on a payment of £750 for another copy of the directory.

Goodman answered: "This is the harder to get one which has the Queen's direct lines to her family in it."

Edis (pictured above) said that, as a result of that conversation, a cash payment of £1,000 was made to a David Farish, which turned out to be a false name, adding: "The investigation has never identified the policeman responsible for this."

The court heard that after Goodman was sacked by News International after he was jailed for phone-hacking in 2007, the media giant asked legal firm Harbottle and Lewis to look at internal emails "selected by News International staff".

Edis said: "The idea was that the solicitor would produce an independent evaluation of the evidence which showed that phone-hacking was confined to Clive Goodman and didn't go any further within the NotW."

He said that News International had been given "effectively a clean bill of health", but that jurors do not have to decide whether that was right or not.

Prosecutors claim that the documents show that Goodman was involved in phone hacking earlier than his previous conviction suggests.

Jurors were told that it is alleged that Goodman paid for two copies of a Royal telephone directory from palace police officers.

A total of 15 copies of the book were found in his home when it was searched in 2006, and of those it is claimed that another two belonged to police but were not necessarily sold by officers, the court heard.

One had an officer's fingerprint on it while another had an officer's handwriting on it.

He said the conversation and payment was the "clearest possible evidence" of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and was linked to phone-hacking.

He said that on the same day the Green Book was bought, which included an address and landlines but no mobile number for Sir Michael, Mulcaire was tasked with investigating him. A mobile number was later handwritten on to the book, the court heard.

The court was shown a heavily-redacted copy of the book, featuring a host of telephone numbers and addresses.

Edis said there were a number of black marks on the book to protect the privacy of those in it.

He said: "Glenn carried on with his investigation and if that's right this book is directly useful for phone-hacking, and in fact used for phone hacking, because Sir Michael Peat is targeted on the very same day the book is paid for."

The trial continues. 

All defendants deny all charges. 



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