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Rebekah Brooks' 'risky plan to hide hacking evidence'

BY MARGARET DAVIS AND RYAN HOOPER

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was involved in a "risky" conspiracy to try to hide evidence from police investigating phone hacking, a jury has heard.

The 45-year-old is accused of plotting with her husband Charles Brooks and former News International head of security Mark Hanna to move material from the couple's Oxfordshire home before it was searched by officers.

A security guard allegedly involved in the operation referred to the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare after he hid a bin bag of property near the Brooks' London flat under the guise of delivering a pizza, the Old Bailey was told. In a text to a colleague, he said: "Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Pizza delivered and the chicken's in the pot."

The other guard replied: "Ha, f****** amateurs. We should have done a DLB (dead letter box) or brush contact on the riverside."

Neither of the men can be named for legal reasons.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the jury that the security staff agreed to log the hours for the car park drop-off as "pizza delivery", because "you cannot log the hours as 'perverting the course of justice'."

It was also revealed in court how ex-News Of The World editor Andy Coulson – accused with others of conspiring to hack phones – had his mobile phone messages listened to by investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Making his own opening statement on Coulson's behalf, Timothy Langdale QC said: "When it is alleged that Mr Coulson must have known (about phone hacking), if only on the basis that each of the news editors was party to hacking, you may like to bear in mind that Mr Coulson himself was hacked by Glenn Mulcaire.

"The CPS did not choose to tell you about that. It is not easy to reconcile with their case, is it? Both conspirator and victim? It is fair to say, is it not, that the two things do not sit easily together?"

It is claimed that while former NotW and Sun editor Brooks was being questioned by police over the voicemail allegations, her husband and Hanna tried to hide evidence.

Jurors heard that security staff picked up a bin bag of material from the couple's Oxfordshire home and that this was hidden near bins at their flat in London's Chelsea Harbour.

But before it could be recovered, it was found and handed to police, the jury heard.

The trial continues.

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