Day 50, Part 1: A former News of the World reporter insisted today that Andy Coulson had hired him to hack phones. Dan Evans said he had told Mr Coulson, then the NoW’s editor, about his skills in voicemail interception during a job interview at a London hotel.
During his third day of cross-examination by Mr Coulson’s lawyer, Timothy Langdale QC, Evans also insisted that his hacking of messages had led to the NoW revealing Sienna Miller’s affair with Daniel Craig.
Mr Langdale read out transcripts of phone conversations between a NoW journalist and two sources who had information about the affair – and put it to Evans that those sources were the origin of the exclusive. He also produced a copy of Evans’s expenses showing that the week the story was published, ending 9 October 2005, he had claimed reimbursement for “Meal with Daniel Craig contact.” “What’s that?” asked Mr Langdale. Evans said: “Probably a meal I had with my partner… I was unlikely to be pulled up on it that week.”
Mr Langdale – who earlier this week accused Evans of indulging in “story-telling” and having got key dates wrong – asked: “So that’s you fiddling your expenses?” “Yup,” the journalist replied. Evans, who has pleaded guilty to hacking phones at the Sunday Mirror and the News of the World, went on: “It was a routine part of tabloid life, that we would do that.” Put to him that he had denied fiddling his expenses in his police interview, he said: “I don’t see why I would deny that – it was part of our culture at the paper.”
In further evidence suggesting that bona fide contacts were the source of the Sienna Miller story, Mr Langdale produced a contributor’s payment for £500 dated 18 October 2005 to someone listed as “Sienna/Jude split – address on file.” Asked if the story had really come from hacking, Evans replied instantly: “It did.” Mr Langdale urged him: “Just think.” Evans replied: “I have thought.”
Mr Coulson’s QC asked why Evans would have talked about hacking at his interview at a hotel in Aldwych in October 2004, if another senior journalist at the paper had already told the editor that that was Evans’s speciality – as Evans had previously suggested.
Evans said that the senior journalist had wanted him to give Mr Coulson “my patter.”
He explained that he had not mentioned hacking as such, saying: “I referred to it as ‘stuff with phones’.”
But if hacking was so well known about at the paper, Mr Langdale, was there really any need for Evans to be so “mealy-mouthed” about it? “I believe there was,” the journalist replied. Mr Langdale put it to him: “You cannot have told him about voicemail interception.” Evans replied: “In so many words, I did.”
The reason Evans could not give any “precision” about the meeting was because it never happened, Mr Langdale told the jury. Evans said: “There was a conversation with Mr Coulson about hacking phones… what I’m saying it the truth.”
Mr Langdale concluded his questioning.
Mr Coulson, who edited the News of the World between 2003 and 2007, denies conspiring to intercept voicemails. The case continues.