Called by Mrs Brooks’s legal team, Deborah Weir said that her daughter’s PA Cheryl Carter had not arrived with any boxes when she visited the Brooks’s home in the Cotswolds at the height of the phone hacking scandal.
Mrs Brooks and Mrs Carter are accused of removing Mrs Brooks’s journalistic notebooks from News International’s archives on Friday 8 July 2011, shortly before Mrs Brooks’s resignation as chief executive and her subsequent arrest by detectives investigating phone hacking.
Phone records shown to the trial suggest Mrs Carter travelled from her home in Essex to the vicinity of the Brooks’s home at Jubilee Barn, near Chipping Norton, on Sunday 10 July.
In answer to questions from Mrs Brooks’s QC, Jonathan Laidlaw, Mrs Weir explained she had driven from her home in Cheshire on Friday 9 July to see her daughter, because she was concerned about her welfare.
She described Mrs Carter as a friend, adding that she called her “CC”.
Asked whether Mrs Carter had brought anything with her that Sunday, Mrs Weir replied: “Did she bring anything with her? The only thing she brought was jam or marmalade… I can’t remember anything else. I think she may have brought biscuits.”
“Did she bring any boxes?” asked Mr Laidlaw, to which she replied: “No.”
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC, Mrs Weir was unable to remember some details about the weekend, such as whether she had travelled down from Cheshire with her best friend Hazel.
In answer to his questions, she agreed she had not known Mrs Carter was coming.
Mr Edis asked her: “Do you actually know whether she brought anything for Rebekah or not?”
“I think in the circumstances I would remember if she had brought anything for Rebekah,” Mrs Weir replied. “She came into Jubilee Barn and she had no boxes.”
Three character references from Mrs Brooks’s friends were read out to the court by her legal team.
Francie Clarkson, wife of the Sun and Sunday Times columnist Jeremy Clarkson, who said she had handled her husband’s media commitments for 20 years, including negotiations with Mrs Brooks, praised the newspaper executive’s “kindness and zeal” towards the Sarah’s Law campaign and Madeleine McCann’s parents.
Mrs Clarkson, a co-founder of Help for Heroes, added that Mrs Brooks’s early support in the Sun for the Armed Forces campaign had increased the amount of money raised.
Mrs Clarkson wrote: “She is without doubt one of the most loyal, kind and trusted people I have ever met.”
Clare Hornby, founder of the luxury fashion business ME+EM, said she had known Mrs Brooks for nine years after meeting her through mutual friends, adding they belonged the same book club in London.
Explaining that she and Mrs Brooks had been on holiday several times, Mrs Hornby described her as down-to-earth, engaging, funny, intelligent, generous and kind.
Dr Peter Greengross, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, who said he had known Mrs Brooks for the past six years, told the court: “I’ve always found Rebekah to be kind, considerate, unassuming,” adding in particular that she would never set out to hurt anyone.
Mrs Brooks, who edited the News of the World and the Sun, denies charges of conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Mrs Carter, Mrs Brooks’s PA for 14 years, denies conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
The case continues.