Day 11: A private detective who hacked voicemails for the News of the World recorded himself saying over a message left by a Cabinet Minister: “Just say ‘I love you’ and it’s 25 grand.” Glenn Mulcaire made the remark as he eavesdropped a message left by David Blunkett for a woman with whom he was developing a close friendship.
In a series of messages left on Sally Anderson’s phone in 2005, played to the phone hacking trial, Mr Blunkett attacked the “hyenas” of the press. Unaware that the messages were being eavesdropped by Mulcaire, the then Work and Pensions Secretary believed he had been betrayed by someone.
“Whoever it is, I hope they rot in hell,” he said. On another message, Mr Blunkett said: “They’re real bastards. They’re doing it for money and they’re doing it for themselves. It’s a sick world.”
On the final voicemail played to the jury, Mr Mulcaire – who has already pleaded guilty to hacking messages – could be heard saying: “Just say ‘I love you’ and it’s 25 grand’”.
Mr Mulcaire, who was paid £100,000 a year by the News of the World, appeared to believe he would receive a cash bonus if he could produce evidence that the Cabinet minister was having a relationship with the estate agent.
The court heard that Mulcaire, who sometimes recorded voicemails left by newsworthy individuals, targeted Mr Blunkett’s phone during two periods, in 2004 and 2005.
The first bout led to the News of the World exposing Mr Blunkett’s sexual relationship with the publisher Kimberley Quinn.
The second homed in on his blossoming friendship with Miss Anderson, whom he had met at Annabel’s nightclub in London. In her statement to police, Miss Anderson admitted saving voicemails left by Mr Blunkett and selling a story about him to the Sunday People. The deal, brokered by the publicist Max Clifford, meant that two newspapers had listened to Mr Blunkett’s private messages. In his statement to police read out at the Old Bailey, Mr Blunkett said he had not been in a relationship with Miss Anderson.
Earlier, the court heard that Mulcaire had written down the names of two senior political aides in his phone hacking notes: Mr Blunkett’s special advisor, Matthew Doyle, and Darren Murphy, advisor to Cabinet minister Alan Milburn.
Former executives at Rupert Murdoch’s News International newspaper group are accused of plotting to hack phones, plotting to commit misconduct in public office and plotting to pervert the course of justice.
All eight defendants deny all charges and the case continues.