Day 47: Phone hacking supergrass Dan Evans played a recording of a hacked message to Andy Coulson while he was editing the News of the World, the Old Bailey heard today. Evans told the phone hacking trial that after he heard Sienna Miller declaring her love to James Bond actor Daniel Craig, Mr Coulson was “really animated”.
Evans told the court that he then arranged for a recording of the voicemail to be delivered to the News of the World’s office in a Jiffy bag and destroyed the original tape to cover up the hacking of the message. Evans recounted the story while giving the second day of his evidence about life inside Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.
The jury heard yesterday that Evans had agreed with the Crown Prosecution Service to testify after pleading guilty to hacking phones at the Sunday Mirror between 2003 and 2005 and at the News of the World between 2004 and 2010.
Andrew Edis, prosecuting, asked Evans how often he conversed with senior journalists at the paper about his hacking. He replied: “It was referred to regularly, daily.” Evans told the court he had been “bullied” at the NoW and particularly “monstered” by a senior journalist who cannot be named for legal reasons.
That journalist, he said, had warned him in an email: “If you don’t come up with a front-page story, you might as well jump off a cliff.” Evans was told that hacking was his unique selling point and he “might as well get on and do some fucking more.”
Asked “What did you do?”, Evans said: “I hacked every phone I could possibly think of hacking. And that included an actor known as Daniel Craig and one of that voicemail I heard a female voice…”
He quoted an affectionate message which began: “Hi, it’s me. I’m at the Groucho with Jude [Law].” When he told the senior journalist about the tape, he said: “Play it for me. Let’s hear it.” According to Evans, that journalist and Mr Coulson then set up a “tabloid-style” operation on the story, seeking to confirm that Ms Miller was seeing Mr Craig.
Evans told the court he played the recording to Mr Coulson, saying: “Certainly Andy was there at the desk and I played it to him a couple of times … Andy was really animated… ‘brilliant’.” Another top journalist told him: “You’re a company man now,” he said.
Evans confronted Mr Craig at his London home about the affair. According to Evans, Mr Craig told him: “No, no, no, it’s not true” and the NoW held the story that Sunday.
The following week, Evans then hacked Mr Craig’s phone and heard a message from Mr Law chiding him about the relationship. The News of the World published its exclusive: “Sienna Cheats on Jude”.
Asked who at the paper had known about his hacking, Evans named 10 journalists who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Taking him back to 2006, Mr Edis asked Evans what had happened to hacking at the NoW after the arrest of the paper’s hacking royal reporter Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire. “It stopped,” he replied. Me Edis asked: “Why did it stop?”
Evans told the court: “The simple reason was that the police had raided Wapping and it had become abundantly clear that a second phone hacking operation had been well-advanced in the news department. There was a lot of fear and anxiety going around… There was a palpable sense of shock.”
Saying “I started getting rid of all the evidence I could lays my hands on,” he told the court he ripped the ribbons out of his micro-cassetttes, tore them up and put them in the blue recycling bins at Wapping, shredded his print-outs of call data, and ripped apart his notebooks. “It was a purge, basically.”
At the end of his testimony, Evans confessed that he had lied in a statement to the High Court claiming he had no memory of trying to hack the phone of interior designer Kelly Hoppen.
He said he had criminal convictions for possessing amphetamines and cocaine.
Saying that his use of illegal drugs had been “reasonably extensive,” he added they had been out of his system “for a long time now.”
The News of the World continued employing reporter Dan Evans for two years after he was caught hacking into Kelly Hoppen’s phone.
Asked what happened in 2009 after Vodafone confirmed that an attempt to unlock the designer’s voicemail had come from his personal mobile phone, Evans said he was suspended from “front-line reporting duties.”
After the New York Times named him in a feature on phone hacking in September 2010, Evans told the court he was put on “formal gardening leave.”
He said: “My colleagues were told not to speak to me. I was cut off, sent to Coventry.” Asked when his employment ended, Evans replied: “The newspaper closed down and I was made redundant.” Following the closure in July 2011, he received a redundancy payment.
The case continues.