Former home secretary David Blunkett called journalists “hyenas” and admitted he was struggling to “cope” with the media, in voicemails that were hacked amid accusations of a second affair.
The jury in the phone-hacking trial heard recordings of voicemails from 2005 which were allegedly hacked by a News of the World journalist, in which Mr Blunkett rails against the press.
The former home secretary was at the time wrongly accused of sleeping with estate agent Sally King, formerly Sally Anderson.
The ten voicemail recordings were seized from the home of News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2006 and include several messages left for Ms King by Mr Blunkett in autumn 2005. Mulcaire has admitted phone hacking.
I do think someone has done a pretty good stitch up job, chapter and verse, times, places, everything – David Blunkett
“They are all being absolutely vile, on radio and TV,” he told Ms King in one message. In another, while Mr Blunkett was in Brighton, he says that he suspects someone “very close” was behind the affair rumours. “Whoever it is, I hope they rot in hell”, he said. “I just want you to know I’m very sorry.”
Mr Blunkett successfully sued for libel over false allegations that he had been having an affair with Ms King.
Ian Edmondson, the news editor at the News of the World, is accused of ordering phone hacking of close friends of Mr Blunkett, including Ms King. The court heard pages of Mulcaire’s notebooks had the name “Ian” in the top left hand corner, above personal details of Ms King.
The court heard on Friday that Mr Blunkett was exposed as having a three-year affair with married woman Kimberly Quinn in 2004 after her voicemails had been hacked. Tapes and transcripts of hacked messages were discovered in safe of News International lawyer Tom Crone by police in September 2011.
For her part, the jury heard how Ms King hired publicist Max Clifford to deal with her press relations in July and August 2005, and she sold her story to the Sunday People on 16 October that year.
Another message played to the court from Mr Blunkett said: “I don’t know who has done this to us, but they are real bastards. They have done it for money and for themselves. The world stinks.”
Later, as the Sheffield politician planned to respond to the allegations, he said: “I do think someone has done a pretty good stitch up job, chapter and verse, times, places, everything.
He continued: “I don’t know who the friends they are quoting are, but I suggest you start thinking about who they might be, and added: “the hyenas are still trying to get me, but when I’m back I shall shed a little light and they will all run back to the jungle again.”
Mr Edmondson is accused of phone hacking alongside former NoTW editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both 45, and managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73. Royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, is accused with Coulson of corruption, while Brooks faces corruption charges for her time as editor of The Sun. They all deny the charges.