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Hacked David Blunkett phone messages found in NoW lawyer’s safe, court told

By Press Association

Former home secretary David Blunkett had voicemails he left for his lover hacked by the News of the World, a jury has heard.

The Old Bailey was told that recordings of messages Blunkett left for Kimberly Quinn of The Spectator magazine, who he had a three-year affair with, were later recovered from a safe in the office of News International lawyer Tom Crone.

The court heard that a cache of 330 messages to Ms Quinn from Mr Blunkett and associates were found by police.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the court that in the drafts of the exclusive story written by NotW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, the couple were referred to by code names Noddy (Mr Blunkett) and Big Ears (Ms Quinn).

Thurlbeck communicated 11 times with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in the lead-up to the story, and Mulcaire invoiced the newspaper for £750 for his work on the story. Both men have already admitted hacking phones.

Giving evidence, Detective Constable Tim Hargreaves said that the messages were "deeply personal" and "intrusive", with one ending "You are breaking my heart".

In another, the secretary of state said he was going to a party with Rebekah Wade (now Brooks) for her then husband Ross Kemp's 40th birthday party.

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Tapes of voicemails relating to Mr Blunkett were also found at Mulcaire's home, together with his address, phone number and details of relatives.

On 11 August  2004, there was contact between then News of the World editor Andy Coulson and Thurlbeck, and between Thurlbeck and Brooks, who by that time had become editor of The Sun, the court heard.

The jury was also played a recording of Coulson urging Mr Blunkett to come clean about the relationship.

Travelling to Sheffield on 13 August 2004, Coulson told the secretary of state that he had "extremely reliable sources".

Coulson, (pictured above) who the jury has previously heard was having an affair with married co-defendant Brooks, also said the story would be a "one-week wonder" if Mr Blunkett confessed.

"I think that will bring it to an end – there will a lot of speculation and media running around, but by the time you come back from holiday it will be done and dusted," he said.

Coulson, 45, from Charing in Kent, and Brooks, also 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, deny conspiring with others to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006.

Earlier the jury heard that former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's mistress received £300,000 to sell her story to two Sunday newspapers.

Faria Alam, 47, began an affair with Eriksson while working as a secretary at the FA and the Old Bailey has heard "first details" emerged when the News of the World hacked their phones.

After she was fired in September 2004, publicist Max Clifford cut a deal for the News of the World and Mail on Sunday to give her £150,000 each for her side of the story, the court heard.

The trial was adjourned to Monday morning.


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