Phone Hacking Trial: Brooks denies ordering NOTW execs to remove Dowler voicemail reference – Martin Hickman

25 02 2014

Dowler and NoWDay 57, Part 2:  Rebekah Brooks today denied ordering newspaper executives to remove a reference to a hacked voicemail from a story about Milly Dowler.

The News of the World changed a story on 13 April 2002 about a voicemail left for the missing 13-year-old after police questioned its veracity.

The paper’s private detective Glenn Mulcaire had earlier intercepted the message from a recruitment agency inquiring about a job interview in the Midlands.

It eventually proved to have been a wrong number, but at the time the newspaper suspected that the teenager was seeking work at a computer factory in Telford.

After being told by Surrey police that detectives were not treating the message seriously, the paper ran a story headlined: “Milly ‘hoax’ riddle’” – which quoted the recruitment agency’s message.

After further conversations with Surrey police that evening, the NoW downgraded the story from page 9 to page 30 of the final edition – and omitted the mobile phone message.

Phone records show that while holidaying in Dubai that evening Mrs Brooks spoke to NoW staff several times, including a 40-minute call with her deputy Andy Coulson.

Asked by her QC, Jonathan Laidlaw: “Did you have any part in the changes in the article carried in the various editions?”, Mrs Brooks shook her head.

Mr Laidlaw asked: “Any part in the movement of the piece from page 9 to page 30?”, to which Mrs Brooks told the court: “No, I don’t think so.

She said she could not remember the content of the calls, but speculated that she and Mr Coulson may have been discussing the overall state of the paper, adding that there were other issues such as marketing and promotion to discuss.

On her return to London the following week, the NoW’s third edition rather than the first or second would have been delivered to her home in Battersea, south London, she told the Old Bailey.

Although she would have read page 30, she would have been “scanning” through the pages because she would have all the papers to read, she explained.

Mrs Brooks, who edited the NoW between 2000 and 2003, could not recall receiving an email sent by its managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, to Surrey police referring to the message on Milly’s phone.

As to whether anyone had drawn her attention to the email, she told the Old Bailey: “No, I don’t think so.”

Mrs Brooks will enter the fifth day of her evidence tomorrow. She, Mr Coulson and Mr Kuttner deny conspiring to hack phones.


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2 responses

25 02 2014
Mike Sivier

Reblogged this on Vox Political.

26 02 2014
davidhencke

Reblogged this on David Hencke and commented:
Second denial re Milly Dowler story from Rebekah Brooks

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