Hacking trial: I don’t recall whether Piers Morgan said he hacked phones, claims Rebekah Brooks


Rebekah Brooks could not remember being told by former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan that he had hacked her phone, the Old Bailey has heard.

A witness had earlier claimed that the pair “shared a laugh” about phone hacking at a birthday party for Andy Coulson in 2004. Mrs Brooks, then editor of The Sun, told the court she could recall the dinner party at which the conversation is said to have occurred but did not remember the account given by another guest. Lawyer Ambi Sitham testified in December that she overheard Mr Morgan tell his fierce rival: “I already know what your splash, or your cover, is going to be because I have been listening to your messages.”

Mrs Brooks said she remembered that she had been working on The Sun's exclusive leak of the Hutton report into the death of Iraq weapons inspector David Kelly and conceded Mr Morgan may have made the remark during a “heated exchange” over the inquiry.

She said: “I don't remember having a laugh at that dinner because I was working on the Hutton report at that dinner. I don't remember a discussion about phone hacking but I know The Sun had a big story and I was working on that story that night.

“I had got up a couple of times at least, maybe two or three times to take some quite serious calls on it [the Hutton report].

“I was very surprised at the witness's recollection, because if you had sat next to me that night - and I'm not saying she didn't - that was a big preoccupation I had and she didn't seem to remember anything about it.”

Referring to Ms Sitham's testimony, prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said: “She may have been right, but you just can't remember it.” Mrs Brooks replied: “I don't remember Piers Morgan saying he had hacked my phone, which is what she said she heard. He might have said it, but I can't remember if he said it.”

Mrs Brooks told the court she had heard rumours of unscrupulous journalists hacking phones in the early 2000s, but insisted: “My newsroom I felt under my editorship was a clean ship. No evidence ever came to me that one of my journalists was phone hacking.”

She said if someone had come up with a story through phone hacking, she may have considered using it if it was in the public interest.

Brooks was also questioned about testimony given by Dom Loehnis, a friend of David Cameron, that they had discussed hacking at a party to celebrate the prime minister's 44th birthday in October 2010. She said she remembered discussing the difficulty Mr Coulson had when he was Mr Cameron's head of communications because of the reports about phone hacking at the time.

Mrs Brooks said: “I remember sitting next to Mr Loehnis and discussing Andy Coulson with him and the issue of Andy Coulson being the spokesperson and being part of the story. It did not strike me as unusual for me to have said to him in the late 1990s this issue [hacking] was live, because I think in the 1990s or mid-1990s that there were stories around about the security flaw.”

Mrs Brooks also firmly denied having any knowledge of Milly Dowler's phone being hacked until it was exposed in The Guardian in 2011. Mr Edis said the former editor “must have” been told about the hacked message, especially after former managing editor Stuart Kuttner decided to tell police they had listened to the voicemail.

But she told the court: “Nobody told me about the accessing of Milly Dowler's phone by the News of the World, or anyone working for the News of the World. I found out on July 4, 2011.”

Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson deny all the charges they face. [being involved in a conspiracy to hack phones.]

The trial continues.

Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor