Recordings of voice mails left by former Home Secretary David Blunkett on the phone of a woman he was having an affair with were discovered in the safe of News Corp.’s U.K. lawyer.
Police found the tapes and a draft News of the World article about Blunkett’s three-year relationship with Kimberly Quinn in Tom Crone’s safe at News Corp.’s U.K. unit, Andrew Edis, a prosecution lawyer, told the jury today. The prosecution said the story, which was published in 2004, was the result of phone hacking.
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s U.K. unit and Andy Coulson, a 45 year-old former editor of the now defunct News of the World, are among eight people standing trial for a string of offenses stemming from wrongdoing at News Corp. U.K. tabloids. Crone, the company’s former lawyer, isn’t accused of wrongdoing.
Rupert Murdoch, the company’s chairman, closed the News of the World tabloid in July 2011 in a bid to defuse a scandal over revelations journalists had hacked the phone of a missing teenager, Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered.
The messages related to Blunkett were “deeply personal and intrusive,” Detective Constable Tim Hargreaves told the court today.
Edis played a recording of a conversation in which Coulson confronted the lawmaker before it was published. Coulson refused to reveal his sources and said he was “sure it was right.”
“I wouldn’t be exposing myself in this way unless I believed the story to be true,” Coulson, who later became a media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, said to Blunkett. “I am confident.”
The other defendants include Stuart Kuttner, the 73-year-old former managing editor of the News of the World, and Ian Edmondson, a 44-year-old former news editor, who are both accused of phone hacking. The newspaper’s one-time royal reporter, Clive Goodman, 56, is charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.
Brooks’s husband, her former assistant Cheryl Carter, and the U.K. unit’s former head of security, Mark Hanna, face charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.