Hacking trial: Rebekah Brooks told her mum to avoid TV and papers the day after it was revealed that News of the World had hacked Milly Dowler's phone
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Thursday 13 March 2014
Rebekah Brooks advised her mother to avoid watching television news or read the papers in the days that followed the revelation that the News of the World had hacked the phone of the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, a jury at the Old Bailey has heard.
Deborah Weir, 70, a farmer from Cheshire, was giving evidence at the close of the defence case of the former chief executive of News International.
She told the court that Mrs Brooks had become difficult to contact after the Dowler hacking story was published on 4 July, 2011.
Mrs Brooks would later be forced to resign her position at NI and was arrested soon after.
The warning message from her daughter was read to the court. It said "Please don't watch the news, mum."
A further message read: "Don't read the papers or look at the television, please."
The court heard Mrs Weir repeatedly sent messages of concern to her daughter, and offered to travel south to Mrs Brooks homes in London and Oxfordshire. Mrs Weir wrote: "Do you need me to come? You must say if you'd like me to be in London."
Another text said: "I'm so worried for you” with a further simply stating "News so awful."
She told the court that she had not wanted her daughter to resign.
On July 17, two weekends after the Dowler story had accelerated the pressure inside Rupert Murdoch’s company following the closure of the NOTW, Mrs Weir had travelled south again to offer support to her daughter.
In a call from Mrs Brooks' husband Charlie, she said she was told to “Get ready really quickly" if she wanted to see her daughter. Mrs Brooks was scheduled at the time due to be interviewed police station in London.
She told the court: "Charlie told me not to get upset."
Mrs Brooks denies all the charges against her.
The case continues.
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