Hacking trial: 'We'd be jailed' - former NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman warned managing editor Stuart Kuttner over cash payments to sources, jury told

 

Political Correspondent

The former royal editor of the News of the World warned a senior executive on the Murdoch-owned paper “We could all end up in jail” if payments to his police sources were traced, the Old Bailey has heard.

Clive Goodman, the specialist royal reporter who was jailed in 2007 on hacking-related charges, delivered the alert in an email to Beverley Stokes, the personal assistant of the former  managing editor Stuart Kuttner.

Mr Goodman, alleged to be discussing contacts that could only be paid in cash, described two recipients who were “in uniform”, but added they were untraceable. A further source, the court heard, worked for a rival national newspaper.

Along with seven other defendants in the trial facing differing hacking-related charges, Mr Goodman is charged with making illegal payments to public officials which he denies. Mr Kuttner denies the phone hacking charges against him. All other charges are denied by all of the defendants legal insert

The jury was told that in an email exchange with Mrs Stokes in 2005, Mr Goodman was told Mr Kuttner wanted to talk to him about cash payments to a contributor.

Mr Goodman subsequently said he had written to Mr Kuttner saying there were only three sources he paid in cash. The warning on a potential jail sentence followed. The email read: “Two are in uniform and we - them, you, me, the editor would all end up in jail if anyone traced their payments. They've had Special Branch crawling all over them since we ran a five-paragraph story about an Operation Trident arrest at Clarence House.”

The correspondence continues :“Thanks to the way we pay them, they're untraceable.

".... The third is an executive at another newspaper who is also taking on potentially life-altering risks for us and will not accept any other form of payment.”

The jury heard that in addition to the email to Mr Kuttner, Mr Goodman discussed the issue of how payments were to be made with Ms Stokes.

Another further message on January 2006 referred to a contributor the jury has been told was a police officer. Mr Goodman says he “is a cash only contributor because of his extremely sensitive job... curtains for him and us”.

The court was also shown evidence that payments by NOTW to the specialist private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, had been authorised by Mr Kuttner's office.

Mulcaire, jailed alongside Mr Goodman in 2007, pleaded guilty to further hacking-relating offences earlier in the trial's progress.

In one message from Mr Goodman in April 2006 to Mrs Stokes,  payments are discussed for a  “Mr Alexander” - said to be  codename for Mulcaire.

He told Mrs Stokes that Mr Alexander was “the most important in terms of the contact” and he was hoping to get a story about Prince Harry from him.

The email read: “I'm relying heavily on him to work his magic over Harry's passing-out party.”

Subsequently told that the payments were going through, Mr Goodman thanked  Mr Kuttner's PA, telling her: “Fantastic. I won't be found in the Thames wearing concrete wellies tonight.”

In another email to the PA he wrote: “As long as they're useful, I don't ask many questions about their Sunday school records,” the court heard.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence