Rebekah Brooks' assistant tells court she did not hide archived material

Aide to former News of the World editor tells court she threw out papers during scandal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 January, 2014, 9:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 January, 2014, 10:30pm

The personal assistant of Rebekah Brooks told police investigating phone-hacking allegations she retrieved boxes from News International's archives at the height of the scandal then threw out most of the contents because it was convenient, and not to hide them, a court heard.

Cheryl Carter, accused of helping her former boss conceal material from police, said on Tuesday she had been asked by archivists to remove seven boxes marked as notebooks belonging to Brooks months earlier, but decided to get them when Brooks was on holiday on July 8, 2011.

This was the day after it was announced that Murdoch's News of the World tabloid was to be shut down amid anger at allegations its staff had been involved in phone-hacking and shortly after the paper's former editor, Andy Coulson, was arrested. Carter and Brooks, the former boss of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper arm News International, are charged with perverting the course of justice.

Brooks is also accused of conspiracy to hack phones and authorising illegal payments to public officials, charges she denies. The Old Bailey jury heard that Carter had asked the company's archivist, Nick Mays, to get the boxes from storage in July.

The boxes, placed in the archive in 2009, were marked as containing the notebooks of Brooks from 1995 to 2007, during which time she had been editor of both News of the World and Murdoch's daily Sun tabloid.

In a recorded interview with police, played to the jury, Carter said she had been asked by Mays to remove material from the archive as it was downsizing.

She said she had decided to deal with the boxes that week in July because Brooks was on a "boot camp" holiday, where she would be at home with a personal trainer.

Carter, who worked as an assistant to Brooks for 16 years, arranged for her son Nick and Brooks' driver to help take the boxes from the archives.

She said the seven boxes mainly contained her belongings. There were just three notebooks, a diary and photographs belonging to Brooks, which she said she returned to the company's offices.

"I threw away the rest of the stuff," she said.