Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Babykins...William's name for Kate

The Duchess of Cambridge's phone was hacked when she was Kate Middleton, a court has heard.

Prince William's pet nickname for Kate Middleton before the couple were married was "Babykins", the jury in the Old Bailey hacking trial heard today.

Transcripts of intimate messages between the couple who became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they married were read out in court. They were discovered by detectives investigating hacking allegations against the now-defunct News of the World.

William, who left the messages while he was training at Sandhurst military academy, calls his future wife "Babykins" and "Baby", tries to arrange to meet up, and also tells her that he would love to see her if it is not too late or she is busy at the gym.

In one message, sent after he has finished training, William tells her he nearly got shot in an ambush on an exercise.

The story appeared in the News of the World - "William shot in ambush" - in January 2006.

In a voicemail read out by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC, William starts by saying "Hi baby" adding: "I had a busy day today again.

"I've been running around the woods of Aldershot chasing shadows and getting terribly lost, and I walked into some other regiment's ambush, which was slightly embarrassing because I nearly got shot. Not by live rounds but by blank rounds, which would be very embarrassing though.

"Um, er, yeah, I'm off on exercise tomorrow morning, just for the day, and then I'm back on Saturday first thing, erm, so I probably won't be able to speak to you tomorrow night."

He then told her he might send her "a cheeky text message" because he might have his phone with him before signing off: "All right, baby, lots of love, um, speak to you soon. Bye bye."

Among the details of the voicemails discovered by detectives at the home of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was a call from William in which he said: "My head's all right. I've just picked up your message. Oh, my little babykins! I hope you are all right . I just tried ringing you but I do not thing you would pick it up because it is 5.35am in the morning so it is probably not a very good time to ring you. I hope you are all right."

In another message William says: "Hello baby, it's me. Sorry I did not ring you earlier and tell you what I was doing. Been a bit of a nightmare day. I think I would just about be finished in a minute.

"It has just gone six but I don't think I will be able to leave here til about seven. I have got stuff here to do, bits and pieces, but I should be able to leave at about 7 at the least. Crack on with what you have got to do and don't worry about me . I will give you a buzz later. I always thought you were going to the gym. Hopefully I can come and see you. I will give you an update.

"Planning on definitely coming out, hopefully by sevenish, so I will be with you by quarter to eight at the latest.

"Hope that's all right, baby. I can't wait to see you. Lots of love and I'll speak to you later."

In one call from William, he talks of wanting to go on a "beagling" drag hunt.

In the call, he said: " Hi honey, it's me. I'm back in the small land of Sandhurst. A couple of pretty nasty days on exercise. Decided to just enjoy them. I am feeling a bit shitty at the moment but hope you are OK. Lovely to speak to you ...

"You are probably very busy working but if there is any chance you are free, maybe later this afternoon or evening, I might be able to get out. I am going to try and go out beagling again and then come to you afterwards.

"So if you are around at home this evening I would love to see you. Let me know. Give me a text or ring back. I am around about the rest of the day."

The "Babykins" nickname appeared in an exclusive by Goodman on February 12, 2006 which said: "Wills wants the girl he calls 'babykins' to be his princess."

In the voicemail in which William tells Kate he wants to get away from Sandhurst and is hoping to get to her parents' house, he says he is going to "try to go beagling" and then see her later.

In an email shown to the jury, Goodman told the then News of the World editor Andy Coulson this was a story as leave is not allowed at Sandhurst. He added that there was "no leave for first five weeks, going to be dead tricky to stand up".

Goodman also contacted his then news editor Ian Edmondson regarding the message William left for Kate saying that he wanted to leave by "sevenish" so he could be with her by 7.45pm.

In an email Goodman told Edmondson: "He was due to leave 7pmish" and is planning to see Kate. "From the inf I've got, it looks like he is going to her parent's house near Reading" because he would not have enough time to make it to her London flat."

Prince Harry's phone was also hacked, the jury was told.

Another voicemail, recovered from Mulcaire's home, involved William playing a joke on his brother by putting on a high-pitched voice as if he was Harry's then girlfriend Chelsy Davy.

Introducing the message to the court, Mr Edis told the jury "Unknown male puts on female voice pretending to be Chelsy."

The message said: "Hi, it's Chelsy here. I just want to say I miss you so much and I think you are the best-looking ginger I have ever seen, although you really are quite ugly for a ginger, but hope you are having a lovely time. I really miss you. It is lovely out here in Africa and hopefully I will see you very soon, you big hairy fat ginger. Anyway, speak to you later."

Police also discovered a message left for Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a trusted aide to the princes, by Andrew Ritchie, William's commandant at Sandhurst.

The message, found at Mulcaire's home address, said: "Jamie, good morning, it's Andrew Ritchie. I would like to have a chat with you this morning if you could ring me back about an incident at the ball last night. I'm in the office till about 12.30pm and it would great to hear from you before then if possible."

It appears to relate to a story which later appeared in the newspaper - headlined "So Silly Willy" - in April 2006.

The story said: "Boozy Prince William and his gang of braying pals outraged guests at Prince Harry's passing out ball with his drunken antics."

The jury saw an email from Goodman to colleagues sent on April 14 2006.

It said: "William and his group were massively drunk and upsetting other guests with their braying hooray henry antics. One of his friends was strutting around the ball pretending to be a brigadier and trying to issue orders.

"A lot of the cadets are from normal non-aristo backgrounds and found the royal party's behaviour offensive. William himself was sent upstairs to bed before the ball ended. Another was regaling guests with an anecdote about how his wallet had been stolen by a hooker the night before.

"William is furious the general has been talking to his private secretary."

It was noted that the events did happen and William was drunk, plus he was also sent to bed early and his friend did pretend to be a brigadier, but it "was not that bad".

In the email it is noted that WIlliam was making a strong defence regarding what happened that night.

It adds: "He is accusing people of lying to the general about him.

"The fact that commandant thought it important enough to call Clarence House shows how seriously he is taking it.

"But the chances of William facing a disciplinary are too slim.

"Ritchie's bollocked William by proxy though the prvate sec and he sees that as a job done.

"Interestingly, Kate was not there. On the list but no show. No love lost between her and Chelsy."

Former News of the World (NotW) managing editor Stuart Kuttner,73, of Woodford Green, Essex, and the tabloid's former editor Andy Coulson are accused of conspiring to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006 along with former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

Former NotW and Sun editor Brooks also faces two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office - one between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012, and the other between February 9 2006 and October 16 2008 - linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.

She also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, of Chelmsford, Essex, between July 6 and 9 2011, and a second with her husband, Charles Brooks, and former News International head of security Mark Hanna and others between July 15 and July 19 2011.

Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office - between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003, and between January 31 and June 3 2005.

Jurors were told that news editor Ian Edmondson, who is charged with conspiring to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006, is "currently unfit" and will take no further part in the trial.

In May last year Kuttner made a statement to police denying the allegations and stating he was not willing to answer any further questions.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday January 6 at 2pm.

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