Hacking trial: Rebekah Brooks feared handcuff shot could end her career

Former Murdoch chief’s husband tells of her ‘paranoia’ 

Political Correspondent

Rebekah Brooks was terrified that pararazzi would take a “killer photograph” of her being handcuffed and led away by officers investigating phone hacking, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

The newspaper executive’s fear that the press would obtain a “career-ending” picture of her arrest was outlined in court by her husband Charlie Brooks, as he gave evidence at the opening of his defence at the hacking trial.

Mr Brooks, 51, a former race-horse trainer and novelist, told jurors that he first feared his wife would be arrested in April 2011 as they were returning from a holiday abroad. He said she had been advised that it was “highly likely” she would be arrested at Heathrow airport. The warning was related the recent arrest of a senior News of the World journalist.

The court heard that Mrs Brooks was arrested some three months later.

Mr Brooks later described discussions with his wife in July 2011, after details of the hacking of a phone used by the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, were published.

The couple, who then lived in a riverside apartment in Chelsea, looked at the option of moving out to avoid a potential raid by police.

Mr Brooks said his wife had spent the months between April and July 2011 living in a “paranoid” state, with a particular fear of a dawn raid. He said he had advised his wife not to use the front entrance of their apartment block, and that using the underground car-park entrance would be better should an arrest take place.

He told the court that he had discussed with his wife the possibility of an overnight stay at the nearby Wyndham Hotel. He said Mrs Brooks had agreed, telling him: “I’d feel better”.

He told the jury that all his wife wanted was a decent night’s sleep, adding: “We weren’t planning a midnight flit to Venezuela. We were just worried about the police.”

Other options considered included a flat-swap with neighbours, and staying at the Lanesborough hotel at Hyde Park Corner. Neither the flat swap nor the overnight hotel arrangement happened.

As published details of the extent of phone hacking by the News of the World emerged, dating back to the period when his wife edited the Rupert Murdoch-owned title, Mr Brooks said his wife became “pretty wrecked”.

Mr Brooks told the jury that the global boss of News Corp was concerned about his wife’s welfare and contacted him personally.

Mr Brooks told the court: “He [Rupert Murdoch] explicitly told me that if she [Mrs Brooks] showed any signs that she wanted to resign, then I should ring him in America, so he could ring and stop her.”

But growing public outrage over the Dowler hacking reached a point where executives at the company believed Mrs Brooks would soon appear before a Commons select committee as an arrested employee.

Mr Brooks said his wife’s immediate boss, James Murdoch, then called him, asking that he pass on a message to Rebekah that it was now felt she should resign.

He said that, rather than seeming disappointed, Mrs Brooks sounded relieved,  saying : “Thank God. I’ve been telling them this all along.”

Mr Brooks, along with his wife and a former News International security official, Mark Hanna, are charged with involvement in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. They deny the charges and the case continues.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform