I hacked 200 phones for NOTW, says ex-reporter Dan Evans

Dan Evans said he took phone hacking techniques and technology with him when he joined the News Of The World from The Sunday Mirror in 2004

A former tabloid reporter was recruited to the News of the World from its chief rival on the basis of his skills as a phone hacker and told the paper’s then editor Andy Coulson about the practice during his interview, the Old Bailey heard on Monday.

Dan Evans, who has pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting voicemails while working at both the News of the World and the Sunday Mirror, said the “dark art” of phone hacking inside Britain’s leading Sunday tabloids was carried out on “a fairly grand scale”.

The former Mirror Group staff journalist, who was poached by News International in 2005, said he learned the “secret” techniques involved in hacking at the Sunday Mirror. Evans said hacking had been going on at the paper for “a long time” before he joined its staff in 2003.

After Evans developed a reputation for hacking, a senior journalist at News International told him during an informal discussion over a potential move to the Wapping headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper group: “I know you can screw phones, but what else can you do?”

In a day of testimony at the hacking trial, Evans described the “kerching moment” during a meeting with Mr Coulson at a hotel to discuss a job at the NOTW. He said: “I told him about my background, the sort of stories I had been doing. Almost the sort of stuff I had been through before.”

Following prompting by the other NOTW journalist he had dealt with before, he said: “I got onto voicemails and interception and I told him I had a lot of commercially sensitive data in my head and how things worked at the Sunday Mirror and I could bring him big exclusive stories cheaply which was the kerching moment. Bring exclusive stories cheaply equals job.”

Phone-hacking trial: Jude Law 'didn't know family member sold his stories to NOTW'  

The court learned that last year Evans pleaded guilty to hacking charges that covered periods when he worked at the Mirror and Rupert Murdoch-owned titles.

In a statement, Trinity Mirror said it took any allegations of wrongdoing seriously, but that it was “too soon to know how this matter will progress”. The company’s shares closed down 3.68 per cent. The jury also learned that Evans has entered into an agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service, delivering two detailed statements which had resulted in him appearing on Monday as a prosecution witness.

Evans told the court he had developed a “niche” role at the Sunday Mirror, and had collated a voicemail interception target list of celebrities, their agents and others around them. He described phone hacking as “hardly rocket science” and said he knew the access process of every major phone company. He described using “burner” pay-as-you-go phones, that were destroyed after a few months to ensure their use could not be traced.

Mystery of Rebekah Brooks’s 10 missing devices: gadgets that connected to router have never been found, hacking trial told  

When Evans was initially offered a move to the NOTW by James Weatherup, a former Mirror colleague who had moved to Wapping and has since pleaded guilty to hacking charges, he refused. He told the court: “I didn’t want to be there as his [Weatherup’s] pet phone hacker.” Although the News International offer was rejected, Evans described his reporting role at the Mirror title as “sliding into phone hacking a bit too far.”

He said he had initially been handed a lengthy list of phone numbers belonging to famous individuals and told “You have to hack and crack the pin numbers of these people.”

Evans then described a subsequent attempt by the NOTW to recruit him. The news department inside the now-shuttered tabloid title, he told the court, had been using hacking to obtain stories.

The journalist who tried to snatch him from the Sunday Mirror is alleged to have said: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” He said he was told: “I want you to do some of that voicemail interception.”

 

The jury was told that the meeting, in late 2004, was before “phone hacking” became the standard short-hand for the illegal practice. He said discussions usually mentioned “the stuff with the phones”.

Evans described to the court how during a leaving do for a journalist at News International, another journalist had shouted out to the room: “I don’t understand why people don’t just change their fucking voicemail numbers.”

Evans, 38, worked at the NOTW under Mr Coulson’s editorship.  He told the court of a breakfast meeting with him at a hotel near Covent Garden and Evans said the NOTW journalist who had set up the meeting called him “within 10 minutes” to say he would be offered a job as an investigative reporter.

Mr Coulson, along with News International’s former chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to hack phones.

Evans said that when he initially arrived at the NOTW he was presented with a contacts list and was told to “get cracking”. He said this meant he was expected to “hack the interesting names on the list”.

The list, shown to the court, included Michael Jackson, Elle Macpherson, Nicole Kidman, athlete Dwain Chambers and  footballer John Terry.

Asked by the lead prosecution counsel, Andrew Edis QC, how many people he had hacked for the NOTW, Evans said “couple of hundred, maybe accessed a thousand or more voicemails – not as many as I did at the Sunday Mirror – but a lot.”

The court heard that in addition to hacking at the NOTW, the paper had a budget with specialist tracing firms who could obtain phone numbers, credit card bills, tax, medical records and other private data.  Evans said such details could be obtained “within three hours” of a request being made.

Evans said that after laying off hacking from 2006 when Glenn Mulcaire was jailed, he had “made a fairly fundamental blunder” in 2009 when he tried to access the voicemails of the designer, Kelly Hoppen, using his company phone. Vodaphone disclosed his identity. “I was a moron” he told the court.

The trial continues.

  I hacked 200 phones for NOTW, says ex-reporter Dan Evans

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star