Day 84, Part 2: A News International administration assistant helped place a bag belonging to Charlie Brooks into two bin bags and stowed the property under her desk at the newspaper group’s HQ for hours while Mr Brooks’s wife Rebekah was under arrest, a court heard today.
Marva Ingram told the phone hacking trial that she received a call from her boss, NI’s head of security Mark Hanna, around lunchtime on a day in July 2011.
An hour or so later, she said, Mr Hanna arrived on Thomas More Street near NI’s headquarters at Thomas Mr Square.
She helped him place a bag – she could not remember which type – into two bin bags (one insider the other) and helped tie them up, and put the doubled-bagged bag under her desk at NI’s headquarters at Thomas More Square, Wapping.
In his evidence earlier this week, Mr Hanna said that the bag had been placed in News International’s lost and found storage area on 17 July 2011.
That day Mrs Brooks, who had resigned as NI’s chief executive three days beforehand, had been questioned by police over alleged phone hacking.
Recalling the phone call she received from Mr Hanna, Ms Ingram, now an executive receptionist at NI, said: “He said that he was coming to News International and he basically said – I can’t remember whether he mentioned the name – he was bringing [something] for me to give to someone.”
She told the Old Bailey:
“I held the black bags and Mark put a bag in… We sealed the bags and then I took it back to my work station. I kept it with me. I had a desk where I worked and it was under the desk.”
She added that by the time she finished her shift, no-one had collected the bag.
Andrew Edis, QC, for the Crown, asked Ms Ingram: “Did he ask you to put it into the lost and found property?”, to which she replied: “No.”
Mr Edis continued: “Did you log it,” to which she said: “No“.
Mr Hanna had not asked her to do so, she said.
In answer to Mr Edis’ question, she said no-one else had arrived with another bag.
The court has heard that two of Mr Brooks’s bags – a brown leather briefcase and a black laptop bag – went missing on the day of Mrs Brooks’s arrest. In his evidence, Mr Hanna said that he took only the brown leather briefcase from the Brooks’s home at Chelsea Harbour to NI.
Mr Hanna, Mr Brooks and Mrs Brooks deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice by allegedly hiding the bags from detectives. The case continues.