28 Jan 2014

‘Brilliant’: Andy Coulson on Miller’s message to Craig

Ex-reporter Dan Evans says he listened to the voicemails of Daniel Craig to uncover his alleged affair with actress Sienna Miller – and alleges that Andy Coulson responded with “brilliant”.

The actor was one of a host of celebrities Mr Evans targeted after he joined the newspaper from the Sunday Mirror in 2005, also including Sol Campbell, Rolf Harris, Kelly Hoppen, Jade Goody and Steven Gerrard’s agent, the hacking trial heard.

He said then-editor Andy Coulson knew about the hacking and had even given directions to Mr Evans about how to hide the information from Craig’s voicemail, by making it appear as if a tape of it had been handed in anonymously.

Front-page stories

Before the Miller story broke, Mr Evans told the Old Bailey trial how he had been bullied to come up with front page stories.

“It happened a number of times. The time we are talking about was a pretty unhappy one for me. I was bullied at work, having quite a hard time.

“I remember being monstered by (NoW journalist). He sent me an email saying: ‘If you do not come up with a front page story you might as well jump off a cliff’.”

He recalled receiving “shouting emails” written entirely in capital letters from a senior employee who was “very intimidating and scary”, adding: “I was in fear of my job.”

He set to work, hacking into Mr Craig’s voicemail. He told the court: “I heard a female voice saying: ‘Hi, it’s me. Cannot speak, I’m at the Groucho with Jude. I love you’.”

He checked the number on his database and found it was Ms Miller’s, he said.

“I went to work on Tuesday wagging my tail and I told (NoW journalist), did you know Sienna Miller is having an affair with Daniel Craig?” Mr Evans said.

Former NoW journalist Dan Evans (Getty)

‘Company man’

He put together a story to show then-editor Mr Coulson. Another NoW journalist was onto the same story, providing corroboration for it, he said.

Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC what the response was to the Miller story, he said: “They said ‘good work’. (NoW journalist) said to me ‘You are a company man now’.”

Mr Evans said he was told by Mr Coulson to make a copy of his recorded voicemail message, put it in a Jiffy bag and take it to reception so it would look like it had been dropped off anonymously.

Then another NoW journalist picked it up with “mock surprise” saying “look what I’ve found”, Mr Evans said.

Next, Mr Evans knocked on Mr Craig’s door to confront him about the story, and the actor said: “No, no, no it’s not true,” the court heard.

Because of the denial, the story was held over for the following week, during which time, Mr Law’s people were approached about the story.

At this point, Mr Evans broke off to address the court, saying: “I would like to apologise to all involved.”

After Mr Law had been alerted, Mr Evans listened into another voicemail to Mr Craig this time from Mr Law in which he claims Mr Law said: “Thanks, mate. I hope Saski (his then-girlfriend Satsuki Mitchell) doesn’t find out.”

The story was run past Mr Law’s public relations executive who “approved” it and it ran in the NoW the following week in October 2005, Mr Evans told the court.

Mr Evans described to the court Law’s reaction to his then-girlfriend’s affair with his friend Mr Craig.

He said: “Jude was obviously bouncing with anger about it. The PR performed a character assassination on Sienna. The story was run past the PR in its entirety. She approved it, and Jude approved the story to go in. He was obviously very unhappy at the time.”

Mr Evans’s byline was the last of three on the Miller story, prompting a NoW executive to send a message highlighting his worth, with reference to Mr Gerrard’s agent Struan Marshall, and Jade Goody.

He said: “The Steven Gerrard reference is in reference to an intercepted voicemail about his wife expecting a new baby.”

Asked by Mr Edis who knew about hacking from Mr Evans’s direct personal knowledge and experience, the witness gave 10 names of NoW staff, including Mr Coulson.

He also told the court more about his own hacking activities, including picking up a story from Mr Craig’s voicemail about actress Eva Green being a new Bond girl, and a story about footballer Sol Campbell and designer Kelly Hoppen.

He also admitted hacking the voicemail of Shane Richie and Jenson Button.

The court heard that Mr Evans has already admitted conspiracy to hack phones at the Sunday Mirror between February 2003 and January 2005, and the same offence at the News of the World between April 2004 and June 2010.

He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between January 2008 and June 2010, and perverting the course of justice by giving a false statement in high court proceedings.

Recreational drugs

Asked by Mr Edis about any other criminal activity in his past, Evans said he had been "busted" for having amphetamines as a student and later for cocaine.
He said: "Recreational drugs played a part in my life since mid-late teens."
However, he had now been clean of drugs and alcohol for a "period of time", he told the court.

The moment police swooped on NoW

Mr Evans on also described the moment two staff were arrested for phone hacking at the News of the World.
In August 2006 journalist Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were investigated by police.
Mr Evans told the hacking trial at the Old Bailey: "Everybody was on tenterhooks. There was a lot of fear and anxiety around. A lot of people were preparing to cover their tracks."
He said a senior staff member told him "it goes without saying no more hooky stuff", referring to hacking.
"There was a palpable sense of shock. I proceeded to start getting rid of all the evidence I could possibly get my hands on."
That included notebooks and tapes of recorded voicemails, he said.