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Hacking trial told of Rebekah Brooks' 'relief' at being told to resign

By David Mercer

Rebekah Brooks was "relieved" when her husband revealed she was being asked to resign as News International chief executive over the phone hacking scandal, a court has heard.

Charles Brooks said he broke the news to his wife that she was being asked to step down after he had been contacted by the firm's then chairman James Murdoch.

"James Murdoch now felt Rebekah should resign and not take a leave of absence," he said.

Brooks then phoned his wife to break the news, the jury heard, before she resigned on July 15, 2011.

"It was quite an ironic call, really, because Rebekah said 'Thank God for that'.

"Rebekah was relieved. She'd been telling them that all along."

Earlier, racehorse trainer Brooks said the couple were "appalled and disgusted" by revelations that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked.

He told the court that Mrs Brooks had suffered with "paranoia" about being arrested in a dawn raid and once woke her husband fearing it was the police when in fact it was just bin men, the court heard.

The couple held a meeting with then-News International chairman Murdoch in July 2011 to discuss a Guardian newspaper story alleging Milly Dowler's voicemail messages had been deleted by the News of the World, which was later found to be untrue.

Brooks told the court: "The conversation ranged from, 'this is too awful' to being 'this can't have happened'.

"However, there was too much accuracy in what had been said for it to be just a political hit. There was too much substance."

Charles Brooks with his wife deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between July 5 and 19, 2011.

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