Rupert Murdoch was so concerned about Rebekah Brooks' welfare during the period when News International closed the News of the World, that he personally called her PA to make sure she was being looked after and to ensure she wouldn't resign her post as chief executive, a jury at the Old Bailey has heard.
Details of the call made by the global boss of News Corp was given at the phone hacking trial by Cheryl Carter, PA to Mrs Brooks during 16 years of her career at Mr Murdoch's UK print division.
On the second day of her defence evidence, Mrs Carter, 49, said she was called by Murdoch who told her: “Please do not let Rebekah resign”. She told the court “Mr Murdoch was concerned about Rebekah.”
Mrs Carter is accused with Mrs Brooks of retrieving and destroying boxes of notebooks belonging to Mrs Brooks which may have been of interest to police investigating phone hacking. The charge is that the two women were involved in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Both deny the charges against them.
Giving evidence from the witness box, which briefly caused her to break into tears, she told the jury that she would never commit a crime for Mrs Brooks.
Under cross-examination by Andrew Edis QC, counsel for the prosecution, Mrs Carter told the court she first learned about the police's re-opened investigation into phone hacking, and of officers being present inside NI's London headquarters, only in July 2011 when details of the NOTW's hacking of Milly Dowler's phone was published.
Mr Edis told her: “That cannot possibly be true.” Mrs Carter replied: “All I knew was that something was going on.”
The jury has previously been told that the police hacking investigation, Operation Weeting, began in January 2011.
Mrs Carter told the court that in July 2011 she was anxious to retrieve two iPads belonging to Mrs Brooks from NI's IT department. She told the jury she did not want them “muddled” with other Apple devices that were being sent out to promote a new NI tablet computer app.
The court was told of an email sent to Mrs Carter by Mrs Brooks which stated that “all” her [Brooks] emails were on an old iPad whose data was supposed to be transferred to a new device.
Mrs Carter denied that the order to the IT department, to ensure both devices belonging to her boss were returned, was to prevent them falling into the hands of the police.
The jury has previously heard that iPads linked to Mrs Brooks remain unaccounted for.
Mrs Brooks and Mrs Carter are among seven defendants in the trial. The charges include conspiracy to hack phones, bribing public officials and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. All the charges are denied.
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