29 Jan 2014

Coulson ‘knew exactly what was going on’

The Old Bailey hears that former NoW Editor Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking “on his watch”, and that phones used to hack voicemails at the Sunday Mirror were “thrown in the river”.

Coulson, ex-editor and former head of communications for David Cameron, stared out from the dock as his former employee claimed that he oversaw phone-hacking at the Sunday tabloid.

Former News of the World (NoW) reporter Dan Evans (above) was being cross-examined by Coulson’s defence lawyer during his third day in the witness box at the Old Bailey.

After a lengthy questioning about who knew about the alleged phone-hacking, Evans raised his voice and said: “The truth is that Andy Coulson knew exactly what was going on on his watch.” Coulson looked up in the dock and exchanged stares with the witness, who has already admitted his part in hacking into the voicemails of celebrities.

Evans, 38, said that “even the office cat” knew about phone hacking at the paper, and that the practice was “completely understood” by his superiors.

He has previously claimed Coulson told him that a voicemail he taped from Sienna Miller to Daniel Craig exposing their alleged affair was “brilliant”.

Phones ‘thrown in the river’

The ex-reporter was at the Sunday Mirror before moving to the NoW in 2005. He told the court that phones used for hacking voicemails at the Sunday Mirror were “thrown in the river” after being used. He said he disposed of 10 pay-as-you-go handsets in the River Thames nearby.

Defence lawyer Timothy Langdale QC said divers have since searched the stretch of river where he said he threw the phones.

The Old Bailey also heard that two untraceable pay-as-you-go phones acquired after he joined the News of the World in 2005 were “smashed up and binned” because in Wapping the river was too far away.

The former NotW employee was eventually caught out trying to hack into designer Kelly Hoppen’s voicemails, and then lied to police with the excuse his Nokia phone had “sticky keys”, the court heard.

Speaking clearly in the witness box, Evans said that statement was “cobblers”, adding: “I bitterly regret I did not take a braver course of action at the time.”

During the cross-examination by Coulson’s lawyer Timoth Langdale QC, jurors heard about Evans’s eventual decision to co-operate with the police investigation into hacking at the NotW.