Day 32: Princes William and Harry were targets of the News of the World’s phone hacking operation, the phone hacking trial heard yesteday. At the Old Bailey, prosecutor Andrew Edis read out a series of recordings of voicemails left by or for the princes which were recovered from the homes of the News of the World’s private detective, Glen Mulcaire, and its royal editor, Clive Goodman, in 2006.
The Metropolitan Police, who have had the recordings since 2006, and the Royal Household, have previously denied that the princes were hacked.
Mr Edis did not explicitly say that the messages had been hacked. However, the jury were read the transcripts of messages left on Prince Harry’s phone by Prince William and by a message from Prince William on the phone of his then girlfriend, Kate Middleton.
In a voicemail on Kate Middleton’s phone in 2006, Prince William referred to her affectionately as “babykins” and recounted how he had been “shot” with blank rounds while on a nigh exercise at Sandhurst military academy.
He told her:
“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.”
In another voicemail message, he referred to leaving Sandhurst so that he could go “beagling” – drag hunting with dogs.
In another recording transcript read to the court, Prince William left a jokey message for Prince Harry with a high-pitched South African voice, referring to him as a “big fat hairy ginger.”
The prince was mockingly pretending to be an irritated Chelsey Davey, his brother’s girlfriend at the time.
In a new email read to the jury, the News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, replied “okey dokey” to a request by Mr Goodman for an extension to “the Matey trial.”
The court has previousy heard that “Matey” was a term used from Mr Mulcaire, whom Mr Goodman was paying for royal hacking.
Mr Coulson denies plotting to hack phones. The case continues.
Day 32 (Part 2): Prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron recounted Mrs Brooks’s and Mr Coulson’s responses when they were interviewed by police in July 2011 and again in 2012 by police investigating phone hacking and corruption of public officials.
Mrs Brooks declined to answer all questions but gave three prepared statements to detectives. Mr Coulson gave one prepared statement.
In her first statement, Mrs Brooks complained that in her recent role as chief executive of News International she had been subjected to “hysterical publicity from our competitors.” In addition, she had been forced to leave News International so quickly that she had not been able to check her email properly, and had been forced to find another lawyer at short notice because of an investigation into her previous lawyer.
Regarding her time editing the News of the World between 2000 and 2003, she said responsibility for the provenance of stories was primarily the responsibility of the reporter, the news editor, the night editor and the paper’s lawyer. She had not asked about illegality involved in obtaining stories, because there was “an assumption” that they had been lawfully obtained.
She told detectives on the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Weeting: “I made it very clear to reporters that the newspaper will not tolerate wrongdoing.”
She went on to say that she had been “shocked” to discover after the arrest of royal editor Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire in 2006 that there had been phone hacking at the News of the World.
In her second statement, made when she was interviewed in March 2012 about alleged corruption of public officials, Mrs Brooks said that The Sun had a long record of reporting on military matters and standing up for members of the Armed Forces.
As a result, The Sun had “a continued legitimate dialogue with military personnel.”
Mrs Brooks suggested there could be “a myriad” of potential sources for a Sun reporter’s “military contact” ,including military journalists and civilian members of military families.
She added: “I believe that the [Sun’s military] stories were in the public interest.”
In her third statement, again on the issue of corruption – for which no date was given – Mrs Brooks said it was possible that she had not read or reviewed properly an email from a Sun reporter requesting approval of another alleged payment.
In his statement, on 8 July 2011, Mr Coulson pointed out that he had attended an appointment with the police voluntarily, adding: “I am disappointed you have chosen to arrest me.” During the past year, he told detectives “all kinds of allegations” had been made about him.
He added that while he was “taking this investigation seriously” and wanted to answer all the allegations, “I have been advised that I should not answer your questions today.”
Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson deny conspiring to hack phones and conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. The trial, which broke up for the Christmas break this afternoon, will recommence on Monday 6 January 2014.