Potential phone-hacking names found in notepad during police raid on Rebekah's flat, court told - Press Gazette

Potential phone-hacking names found in notepad during police raid on Rebekah's flat, court told

Police found a notepad with the names of two potential phone-hacking victims during a raid on Rebekah Brooks’ London flat, a court heard.

The Old Bailey heard that police raided both Brooks’ Chelsea apartment as well as her Oxfordshire country house.

The former News of the World editor accused police of leaking details of the second dawn raid to the media.

The nature of some of the searches caused one defence lawyer to remark: “This is not Carry On Policing, is it?"

Detective Constable Alan Pritchard was questioned about the search of Rebekah Brooks's office at News International, just hours after she resigned and was escorted off the premises in July 2011.

The search, carried out with the consent of a NI executive, led to the seizure of computer equipment including laptops, iPads, and memory sticks, the Old Bailey trial was told.

But Brooks paperwork was stored in a filing cabinet beside her personal assistants, beyond the designated search area, the court heard.

Her lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw QC pressed the witness on what police were looking for, exclaiming: "This is not Carry On Policing, is it?"

Pritchard said he had not been privy to discussions before the search.

The Old Bailey trial was then told about a search of Brooks’  London flat two days later, after the former NI chief executive had been arrested.

There, police seized computer equipment including laptops, a mobile phone and DVDs. They also found a torn-up and binned draft resignation letter and a notebook containing the names of potential hacking victims – Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton and Paddy Harverson, the court was told.

Prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron read out a letter from husband Charlie Brooks' solicitor, sent after police were handed two bags that had been stashed in the couple's underground car park.

It said the items were "personal property belonging to Mr Brooks". Asking for their return, the solicitor wrote that a review of the material would "make that clear". The bags, shown to the jury yesterday, contained two laptops and an assortment of other items including a collection of lesbian porn DVDs.

On the same day as the London search, police visited the couple’s barn conversion in Oxfordshire. As it was deemed a "weekend residence" only, they spent just 15 minutes there, the court was told.

But months later, as police prepared to arrest the couple for perverting the course of justice, a team of around 10 officers returned in a dawn raid.

Rebekah Brooks answered the door, on 13 March 2012, and helped the police by pointing out property they might want to take away, the court heard.

Her husband had been concerned for his 81-year-old mother living in the next-door barn which was also to be searched, Laidlaw said.

Detective Constable Karyn Millar, one of the officers on the scene, said Charlie Brooks was allowed to telephone his mother before police knocked on her door.

Police seized a laptop, two iPads, two BlackBerry mobile phones, and four iPods. One of the items taken by police had already been examined and returned after the searches in 2011, the court heard.

Laidlaw went on to accuse police of leaking news of the search as it broke on the television not long after police arrived.

He said Rebekah Brooks remarked at the time: "We did not know this was going to happen. We have given our phones. It must have been you, the police, that are leaking this."

Rebekah Brooks, 44, and her racehorse trainer husband Charles Brooks, 50, both of Churchill, Oxfordshire, deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice between 15 July 19 and July 2011.

Seven defendants deny all the charges against them.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.




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