Andy Coulson 'ordered' Calum Best phone hack, court hears
Former News of the World editor instructed his news desk to 'do his phone', prosecutor tells jury
ANDY COULSON ordered journalists at the News of the World to hack TV celebrity Calum Best's mobile, the phone hacking trial has heard.
The court was told that in 2006 the NotW was investigating Calum Best, the son of the late Manchester United footballer George Best. Calum was thought to have fathered a child with a woman who was willing to sell the story, the BBC reports. The tabloid was paying the woman for her story, but it was worried that Best might leak it to a rival tabloid.
At that point Coulson, who was then the editor of the NotW, sent an email to his then head of news, Ian Edmondson. The message said "do his phone", prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the court.
"What does that mean?" Edis asked the jury.
Journalists at the NotW used hacking as a "perfectly rational but entirely illegal" way of confirming stories, the Old Bailey heard. After getting a tip-off they would use "surveillance and phone hacking" to confirm it was true before confronting those involved.
Alleged targets of the hacking included former home secretary Charles Clarke, actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller, and former aide to Prince William and Prince Harry, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the jury heard. Former politician Lord Archer, cook Delia Smith, and model Abi Titmuss were also hacked, it is alleged.
Edis told the jury that a phone belonging to a hairdresser called Laura Rooney had been hacked because the NotW mistakenly believed she was related to England striker Wayne Rooney.
A NotW story alleging that Prince Harry had got an aide to help him with his exams at Sandhurst military academy, was "based entirely" on phone hacking, Edis said. The story, which ran in December 2005, was based on the contents of an illegally-accessed message obtained by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire on behalf of the tabloid's former royal editor Clive Goodman.
Earlier the jury heard that Goodman had admitted that he was breaking the law when he asked Coulson to approve a corrupt payment to a policeman, the Daily Telegraph reports. Goodman emailed Coulson asking him to approve a £1,000 cash payment to obtain a royal telephone directory from the officer.
In the email exchange Goodman openly acknowledged that he and Coulson would face "criminal charges" if the transaction was discovered, the court heard.
The case continues. ·