21 Nov 2013

Hacking: We ‘would all end up in jail’ if payments traced

The phone hacking trial at the Old Bailey sees an email from former News of the World royal editor warning of the illegality of cash payments to his confidential sources.

Clive Goodman, Stuart Kuttner, Andy Coulson (Getty)

(Pictured: former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, managing editor Stuart Kuttner and editor Andy Coulson)

In an email sent in July 2005 to NOTW managing editor Stuart Kuttner, the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman discusses three contacts who were paid only in cash.

Mr Goodman writes: “Two are in uniform and we – them, you, me, the editor – would all end up in jail if anyone traced their payments. They’ve had Special Branch crawling all over them since we ran a five-par story about an Operation Trident arrest at Clarence House.

“Thanks to the way we pay them, they’re untraceable. The third is an executive at another newspaper who is also taking on potentially life-altering risks for us and will not accept any other form of payment.”

The email was forwarded to Mr Kuttner’s PA, Beverley Stokes.

Mr Goodman also discussed the arrangement of payments with Mrs Stokes, the court heard. Having heard from Mrs Stokes that payments to “Mr Alexander” – a codename used for private investigator Glenn Mulcaire – were going to be made, Mr Goodman told her: “Fantastic. I won’t be found in the Thames wearing concrete wellies tonight.”

In a further email to Mrs Stokes, Mr Goodman noted: “As long as they’re useful, I don’t ask many questions about their Sunday school records.”

Mrs Stokes told the trial that until Mr Goodman’s arrest she had no knowledge of any phone hacking, and that she had a good working relationship with him that was quite jokey at times.