MEDIA

Rebekah Brooks tells hacking trial of 'car crash' personal life

Former news chief denies six-year affair with fellow editor at hacking trial

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 1:26am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 3:58am
 

Rebekah Brooks, the former boss of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, told a London court yesterday she did have moments of physical intimacy with fellow editor Andy Coulson, but denied a prosecution charge that she had a six-year affair with him.

Holding back tears as she took the stand at her trial into phone-hacking offences, Brooks said she had been extremely close friends with Coulson, and on occasion had intimate relations with him between 1998 and 2006.

Coulson, who succeeded Brooks to edit the now-defunct News of the World Sunday tabloid from 2003 to 2007, went on to become the spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron.

He is also on trial with Brooks at the Old Bailey and the prosecution has accused the two former editors of having an affair at the time their staff were hacking into voicemails to secure exclusives.

You have a couple of glasses of wine and shouldn’t go on the computer
REBEKAH BROOKS

Prosecutor Andrew Edis had told the jury in October when the trial opened that the intimacy of their relationship indicated both knew as much as the other about the criminal activities of senior journalists on the paper.

But Brooks said of the allegation of an affair yesterday: "First of all, it's not true."

Then she accepted suggestions from her lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw that they had moments of intimacy.

"My personal life was a bit of a car crash for many years," she told the court.

Brooks, 45, was almost moved to tears as her lawyer asked her about other former relationships.

At one point, as Laidlaw said he would move on to the topic of Brooks' marriage to actor Ross Kemp and their attempt to have a child, she asked if she could have a break and left the court.

She revealed that a cousin had acted as a surrogate to help her and her second husband Charlie have a baby, called Scarlett.

Charlie Brooks, a friend of the prime minister whom she married in 2009, is also on trial for trying to hide evidence. The relationship between Brooks and Coulson was discovered after police found a document containing a 2004 letter on a computer at Brooks' London home.

She wrote the letter after Coulson tried to break off the relationship.

She said: "I do not know if anyone has been in the situation at a time of hurt - you come home and have a couple of glasses of wine and shouldn't go on the computer."

She added that when she woke up the next day she thought better of sending the letter.

Brooks, who was a close associate of both Murdoch and Prime Minister Cameron, also told the court yesterday she had not been aware of the tens of thousands of pounds that was paid to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who has admitted phone-hacking.

She told the jury a day earlier that she had not even heard of Mulcaire and that it was impossible for an editor to know every source for every story.

Brooks and Coulson are accused of conspiring to hack into the voicemails of high-profile public figures or those close to them and also of making illegal payments to public officials. They deny the charges.

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