Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Journalists at News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid had access to the voice mails of Prince Harry and the future Duchess of Cambridge, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors read a message from Prince William to his wife-to-be, then known as Kate Middleton, calling her “babykins.” In another, William pretends to be the girlfriend of his brother, Prince Harry, and calls him “big ginger.”
The messages were found at the home of former royal reporter Clive Goodman, as well as at the home of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who has pleaded guilty to hacking phones for the now-defunct tabloid, prosecutor Andrew Edis said.
Goodman is one of seven people on trial in London over wrongdoing at News Corp. publications. The discovery in 2011 that a murdered school girl’s phone had been hacked in 2002 by the News of the World triggered public outrage that led News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch to close the tabloid newspaper.
While prosecutors had previously said Middleton’s phone number was on a list that Mulcaire had targeted, this is the first time they have shown jurors that the royals’ phones were hacked.
In another voice mail, William tells Kate of an accident during his military training in which he stumbled into an exercise where blanks were being fired.
Other people on trial include Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, and Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World who later became a media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron. In addition to phone hacking, both are also charged with paying bribes to public officials.
Brooks, 45, told officers investigating the case that she never knew about phone hacking at the News of the World until police told her in 2006 that her own messages had been accessed, according to comments read to the court today that included her statements to police during several interviews in 2011 and 2012.
“I did not ask if any illegality was used in obtaining information because the assumption was that it was not,” Brooks, a former editor of both the News of the World and News Corp.’s daily Sun tabloid, said in a 2011 police interview.
“If I had known, I would have put a stop to it,” she told police in a subsequent interview.
She also told police that while she ordinarily would never condone paying public officials for information, she may have hastily approved one alleged expenditure because Murdoch was in the office.
“I know from my desk diary, that Rupert Murdoch was in the office that day and I had significant other responsibilities besides editing the paper,” she told police.
Paying sources other than public officials was a longstanding practice in the industry, she told police.
The nearly two-month-old trial, scheduled to last until mid-April, broke for Christmas today and will resume Jan. 6.
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