By Martin Hickman
Rebekah Brooks had no knowledge of an attempt by her husband Charlie to hide his bags at the time she was arrested, the Old Bailey heard today.
Giving evidence for the eighth day, Mrs Brooks, formerly chief executive of News International, said she only heard that Mr Brooks had stashed the bags in the car park below their flat at Chelsea Harbour, London, the day after her arrest, Monday 18 July 2011.
That was the day a cleaner found two bags stowed behind some wheelie bins and handed them into the facility’s front desk manager – who called detectives.
CCTV footage showed that the bags, containing Mr Brooks’s computers and his pornography collection, were put behind the bins on the day Mrs Brooks was arrested by detectives from the Met’s Operation Weeting.
Their stowing was, according to the prosecution, part of the plan by the Brookses and NI’s head of security, Mark Hanna, to hide material that might have been of use to the police investigation.
Asked by her counsel Jonathan Laidlaw QC, when she had heard the bags had been placed behind the bins, Mrs Brooks told the court: “I don’t think I heard much at all.”
Pressed by Mr Laidlaw, when she found out, she said it was on her return from a visit to her solicitors Kingsley Napley on Monday 18 July.
When she found out about the “mix up with his bags” she was furious, she told the court. Explaining she was exhausted after being held by the police for 12 hours in police cells, she said: “I think I just lost it at that point. I couldn’t believe. It sounded like a monumental cock-up… It was the final straw in what had been a cataclysmic few days.”
Mr Laidlaw concluded his questioning of Mrs Brooks shortly before 4pm, after which Timothy Langdale, Andy Coulson’s lawyer, declined to ask her any questions.
David Spens QC, representing former royal reporter Clive Goodman, asked Mrs Brooks if she could remember that as News of the World editor in 2001 she promoted Mr Goodman to assistant editor.
“No, I don’t remember,” she replied.
Asked whether she was aware of the practice of “source-boosting”, where reporters would “big up” their sources, Mrs Brooks replied there was some “bravado on occasions” but denied it was a regular practice. Mr Spens continues his questioning tomorrow.
Mrs Brooks, Mr Brooks, Mr Hanna, Mr Coulson and Mr Goodman deny all the charges they face.