DAY 8 – Wed 6 Nov
By Martin Hickman
The News of the World targeted the phone of England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson over a four-year period, the Old Bailey heard today.
The paper’s private detective, Glenn Mulcaire kept notes on the Swede listing his mobile phone number and other personal details between 2002 and 2006, Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, told the hacking trial.
During that time in 2004, the News of the World ran front-page stories about Eriksson’s relationship with the Football Association PA, Faria Alam, and in 2006 an undercover sting on him by the paper’s reporter Mazher Mahmood, he told the jury.
Mr Mahmood, the News of the World’s former investigative specialist, has not been charged with any offence and is not on trial.
Outlining how the paper targeted Eriksson while Mulcaire was working for the paper, Mr Bryant-Heron said police recovered two recordings in his possession of voicemails from Eriksson’s phone.
One was from an Italian footballer and a second from the Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, inquiring whether he should sign an unnamed England player.
The Old Bailey heard that the first note was dated 24 May 2002 and listed Eriksson’s mobile phone number. In the top left corner, he had written “Neville” – an apparent reference to Neville Thurlbeck, a former News of the World news editor who has pleaded guilty to phone hacking offences at an earlier hearing.
Mulcaire made two further notes relating to Eriksson in 2002. Both listed “Greg” in the top left corner. Greg Miskiw, a long-standing news executive at the paper, has pleaded guilty to plotting to intercept phone messages.
On a note dated 2 June 2004, Mulcaire wrote “Faria Alam” and “Eriksson”. In another, dated 20 June 2004, were the words ‘Faria Alam’, an account number and the words “reset voicemail PIN”.
Days later, in July 2004, the News of the World ran a story headlined: “Sven’s Secret Affair” and later that month, after buying Ms Alam’s story, splashed: “I Bedded Sven And His Boss”.
Between 17 and 20 January 2006, Mulcaire made five calls to a different phone number belonging to Eriksson. On 22 January 2006, the News of the World published an undercover sting by Mr Mahmood on Eriksson (in which he reportedly offered to manage Aston Villa if England won the World Cup). The newspaper headlined that story: “This Man Is A Crook”.
Judge John Saunders asked Mr Bryant-Heron: “Are suggesting that that number was hacked?” Mr Bryant-Heron replied: “Yes, it was.”
Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, Ian Edmondson and Stuart Kuttner deny plotting to hack phones and, along with four other defendants, have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The case continues.