Day 54, Part 2: Rebekah Brooks wanted to blame News International’s former chairman Les Hinton and the News of the World’s editor Colin Myler for the phone hacking scandal, according to a document disclosed today.
On Friday 8 July 2011, four days after the Guardian revealed the hacking of Milly Dowler, causing outrage which led to the NoW’s closure, Mrs Brooks outlined her plan for dealing with the fallout.
In an internal email headed “Plan B”, she wrote:
“A thought… and a Les situation could play well into this even if it was at a later date. ie result of report when published would slam Les, Colin Etc and it will vindicate my position (or not).”
In an apparent draft statement, she suggested News International admit it had wrongly accepted the results of the police investigation into voicemail interception in 2007, writing:
“Our internal investigations were woeful and limited and we failed to hold the right people to account. The result was the very sad closure of an outstanding newspaper whose reputation was irreparably tarnished by the actions of a few. We are committed to retaining as many jobs as possible.”
Mrs Brooks, whose email was disclosed in full at the hacking trial today, continued:
“What do you think?… I am ring fenced and properly. It will be written as slippery slope for me but I hardly have a reputation left.”
Two days before the closure of the News of the World, Mrs Brooks, NI’s chief executive, suggested that the company should launch a bumper Saturday Sun and cut the price of the Sunday Times to £1 “to stop the MoS [Mail on Sunday] getting big sale.”
Rebekah Brooks denies charges of conspiring to hack phones, conspiring to commit misconduct and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The trial continues.