21 Dec 2013

Prince William and ‘babykins’ – phone hacking trial week 8

Royal secrets read out in court as Prince William calls his future wife ‘babykins’, as the jury hears more allegations about the NOTW’s Clive Goodman. Here are five things we learned this week.

1) Tapes of messages left for the wife of the heir to the throne were found in properties associated with NOTW investigators

Although the jury had previously seen the name of Kate Middleton on a “target evaluation list” written by Glenn Mulcaire, it had not been disclosed until this week in court that recordings of the then-Ms Middleton’s messages were found on tapes recovered from properties associated with Mr Mulcaire and Clive Goodman. These included intimate messages left by Prince William while he was a cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for his then girlfriend and now wife. The details left in those messages – that Prince William called his future wife “baby” and “babykins”; that he nearly got shot by blank rounds after “getting terribly lost” during a training exercise – all ended up in the pages of the News of the World. Seven years later, those private messages were aired again, in an open courtroom.

2) The jury heard Prince Harry was also hacked for the first time

The court heard a transcript for a voicemail message left on Prince Harry’s phone. It was left by an unknown man, using a put-on female voice, who purported to be the Prince’s then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy. The caller described the prince “the most best looking ginger I’ve ever seen” and a “big hairy fat ginger”.The court heard that on April 9 2005, the News of the World published an article by Mr Goodman which read: “Yesterday the repentant Prince took an ear-bashing phone call… “It’s Chelsy. How could you? I see you had a lovely time without me. But I miss you so much, you big ginger, and I want you to know I love you,” said a hysterical voice.”

“Luckily the caller was joker brother Prince William…”

3) Clive Goodman “wouldn’t stir himself and go out and cover stories” according to Stuart Kuttner

He was the News of the World’s royal editor. But according to evidence from the paper’s former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, Clive Goodman, despite holding a “key position” of the paper, rarely left the office on assignment. “I learnt that no matter what he wouldn’t stir himself and go out and cover stories”, Mr Kuttner told police. He said this was something he “never really understood” and that it was something that “seemed to be a negation of a reporter’s role.”

4) Rupert Murdoch sent “warm and personal” thanks to defendant

After decades working in Fleet Street, Stuart Kuttner retired from his role as managing editor of the News of the World in 2009. A transcript of one of the police’s interviews with Mr Kuttner was read out in court on Tuesday. In it, he told police that he “received a very warm and personal letter from Mr Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch” when he announced his departure. He also stated that he retired as managing editor in 2009 after the then-editor Colin Myler asked him to take a new part time role. Mr Kuttner said he continued to work for the paper on its “Sarah’s Law” campaign until what he described as the “terrible closure” of the News of the World in 2011.

5) The trial is behind schedule

As the phone hacking trial got under way in October, jurors were told the case could last up to six months and that this could cause “a significant disruption in people’s lives”. On Thursday, the final day the trial will sit in 2013, those jurors were told the trial is running “between 2 and 3 weeks behind time”. They were warned by Mr Justice Saunders that if they feel like being ill, the two week Christmas break would be “a good time”.

The ‘phone hacking trial will resume on 6th January 2014.