Day 85, Part 1: Rebekah Brooks’s husband once drank a pint of washing up liquid, the Old Bailey heard today. In one of the most unexpected anecdotes at the phone hacking trial, Mr Brooks’s friend Sarah Bradstock recalled that one day she had found him “frothing at the mouth”.
In turned out he had not been bitten by a rabid dog, she told the court, but had “drunk a pint of Fairy Liquid to try to rid himself of the excesses of the night before.”
Mrs Bradstock, whose character reference was read out to the court, said that while charming and straight-forward, Mr Brooks could be “daft”.
She said: “One of his greatest assets is what you see is what you get.”
Mrs Bradstock, who has known Mr Brooks since they were teenagers, was one of four witnesses giving evidence about his character as part of his defence against a charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Mr Brooks has told the court that he foolishly hid two bags from detectives while his wife was under arrest in July 2011 because he feared police would leak the existence of his pornographic DVDs to the press.
In the first character reference read out to the jury, veteran Newmarket racehorse trainer Sir Mark Prescott said that Mr Brooks had been a talented jockey and an astute trainer of racehorses, adding: “Charlie is a man of great talent; a high achiever who is capable of producing great ideas.”
Mr Brooks was entertaining, unjudgemental and humane and despite an outwardly “cavalier” appearance, “thoughtful, considerate and a clear thinker”, Sir Mark said, adding: “I have never had any cause to doubt his integrity.”
Thomas Lacey, who has bought and sold racehorses with Mr Brooks since 2009, told the court: “You could never meet a more genuine and honest person than Charlie.”
Kevin Perry, racing editor of the Daily Telegraph, said Mr Brooks was never afraid in his fortnightly column to take on anyone he deemed to have ill-served the racehorse industry. “In all matters he has been professional and accurate in his work,” Mr Perry said.
“The allegation seems to be out of character for the Charlie Brooks I know.”
The jury were sent home before lunchtime and the trial is expected to continue tomorrow.