Hacking trial: NOTW reporter Dan Evans says phone hacking such common knowledge at paper 'even the office cat knew'

Journalist tells jury at the Old Bailey he had been caught up in 'an enormous conspiracy'

Phone hacking was an “open secret” on the editorial floor of the News of the World and former editor Andy Coulson knew “exactly what went on on his watch”, a jury at the Old Bailey heard.

Dan Evans, the former Sunday Mirror and News International staff journalist who has pleaded guilty to hacking phones during a seven-year period at both the Mirror Group and the Murdoch-owned title, said his activities at the News of the World were “completely understood” by his superior.

The court heard that despite daily news conferences at the paper maintaining a pretence that hacking was not used, there was no other concealment. Even the “office cat” knew about the illegal practice, Evans said.

The jury has already heard a claim that Evans was hired from the Sunday Mirror by the News of the World specifically for his phone hacking skills.

Giving evidence for a third day, Evans was questioned by counsel for Mr Coulson, Timothy Langdale QC.

The court heard how in 2009, after a self-imposed moratorium on hacking that followed the arrests of the News of the World’s investigator Glenn Mulcaire and former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, Evans attempted to hack into the voicemail of designer Kelly Hoppen. The attempt was spotted, the police notified and News International faced civil action.

Evans admitted to the court that he had lied to the police in his witness statement. He told the jury that his excuse, that “sticky keys” on his mobile had contributed to his dialling Ms Hoppen’s number, was “completely untrue”.

Questioned about his  reliability and truthfulness by Mr Langdale, Evans said that when he was first quizzed by a News International executive about what had happened, he mentioned how his phone was worn out and had sticky keys. He said this detail then appeared in a draft document drawn up for him by News International’s lawyers.

Evans told the court: “There was an enormous conspiracy that I was caught up in. I was toeing the company line.” He described himself as “being a very frightened man at the time. I did not know what to do. I’m very sorry for lying at the time.”

Earlier, Evans denied lying when he said that his former editor had reacted with the word “brilliant” to a hacked voicemail obtained from the phone of the actor Daniel Craig, but said he might have paraphrased the exact term used. The message had been left by actress Sienna Miller, who was having an affair with the Bond star.

Andy Coulson (left) knew details of affair between Sienna Miller and Daniel Craig had been obtained illegally, Old Bailey jurors were told Andy Coulson (left) knew details of affair between Sienna Miller and Daniel Craig had been obtained illegally, Old Bailey jurors were told (Getty)

Addressing Evans, Mr Langdale said: “You are prone to making sweeping assertions that are not based on fact,” adding that he took to “blaming others for things you have done.”

Much of Mr Langdale’s questioning was devoted to Evans’ attempts to secure “full immunity” from prosecution if he co-operated with the phone hacking investigation.

The court heard details of negotiations between Evans’ solicitors Peters & Peters and the CPS from 2011 and 2012, in which complete immunity appeared to be his target. He did not succeed.

Evans also said that phone hacking, which he had first started to do at the Sunday Mirror, had led him down a path of alcohol and drug abuse. He told how he had undergone an 18-month period of therapy, and revealed that during his time at the News of the World he used cocaine “every couple of weeks”.

He told the jury: “I was self-medicating.” He said this was because he knew he was doing something “illegal”, adding, “delving deeply into the lives of people who do not deserve it made me unhappy.”

Mr Coulson, along with six others, is accused of conspiracy to phone-hack, bribing public officials, and of involvement in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. All seven defendants deny all charges.

The case continues.  

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried