27 Jan 2014

Ex-NoW reporter: I told Coulson about my hacking skills

A former reporter tells a court he informed ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson about the hacking skills he had acquired at the Sunday Mirror before he was taken on by the Murdoch newspaper.

The Old Bailey heard evidence from Dan Evans, who admitted hacking phones at the two Sunday tabloids.

The former reporter was appearing as a witness for the prosecution in the phone hacking trial and claimed that he was recruited from the Sunday Mirror to join the NoW, partly because of his knowledge of phone hacking.

He said: “I was bringing phone hacking techniques and methodology. I was bringing a pretty lengthy list of phone hacking targets. People whose voicemails had been intercepted, general skills to perpetuate that activity.”

I was made aware very recently that there had been some kind of communication with this person… I was never aware money had been exchanged – Jude Law

Mr Evans said that he was approached by NoW staff three times before he finally resigned from the Sunday Mirror in October 2004, and the court heard that phonehacking, or “voicemail interception” was mentioned in the very first meeting. At the second meeting, Mr Evans said he was asked: “I know you can screw phones, what else can you do?”.

‘Bring exclusive stories, cheaply equals job’

Mr Evans told the court about the “Kerching moment” when he met Andy Coulson at a hotel to discuss the job for the third time.

He said: “I told him about my background, the sort of stories I had been doing. Almost the sort of stuff I had been through before.”

Following prompting by the other NoW journalist he had dealt with before, he said: “I got onto voicemails and interception and I told him I had a lot of commercially sensitive data in my head and how things worked at the Sunday Mirror and I could bring him big exclusive stories cheaply which was the kerching moment. Bring exclusive stories cheaply equals job.”

The ex-tabloid journalist told the jury that he was involved in hacking at the Sunday Mirror for about a year and a half from 2003 when he was given a staff job, but it had been going on before that.

Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC what his job at the Sunday Mirror was, he said: “I was a news reporter. Principally I was tasked with covering news events, investigations, undercover work, latterly with hacking people’s voicemail.”

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 NoW between April 2004 and June 2010. He has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Seven people are on trial and deny charges of phone hacking, including former NoW editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks.

Jude Law ‘shocked’

Also on Monday, Jude Law appeared shaken on hearing that a member of his “immediate family” allegedly sold stories about him to the News of the World.

The Oscar-nominated actor said that when police showed him notes that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire held about him, he “was shocked to see the amount of information that had been accumulated”, but he added: “Sadly it didn’t surprise me because it seemed apparent from what had been written (in the press).”

The court heard that the defunct NoW tabloid published stories about Jude Law’s girlfriend, Sienna Miller’s affair with actor Daniel Craig.

Law was handed a piece of paper with the alleged relative’s name on it, and asked if he knew that the family member had spoken to the press. He said he was recently made aware of his relative’s involvement.

The defence barrister continued to ask when he first found out that the family member was paid, he replied: “Today”.

He told the court: “I was made aware very recently that there had been some kind of communication with this person and several others in and around and about this period of time. I was never aware any money had been exchanged.”

He told the court he first became aware of rumours of the affair around the time the couple went to Ms Miller’s sister Savanah’s wedding in the west country and Mr Law was shown NoW articles headlined “Sienna Cheats On Jude” and “Layer Fake”.

Mr Law also told the jury that from around 2001 photographers would gather at his home, and added: “I became aware that I was also turning up at places having arranged to go there secretly… and the media were already there, or photographers were already there.