Personal assistant to Rebekah Brooks arrested over 'deleted emails'

Cheryl Carter is latest News International employee to be questioned in phone-hacking inquiry

The longstanding secretary to the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has become the 17th person to be arrested by police investigating phone hacking at the News of the World.

Cheryl Carter, 47, who was Ms Brooks' personal assistant for 19 years, was arrested at her home in Essex shortly before 7am yesterday on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. The officers were from Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard's inquiry to establish who at the NOTW knew about illegal voicemail interception.

Detectives, who have been handed an archive of 300 million internal emails by NI, are understood to be investigating claims that electronic messages were deleted at the company before evidence was surrendered to the Yard.

Ms Carter, from Billericay, remained with Ms Brooks throughout her career at Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire and had an intimate knowledge of her business dealings and appointments diary. During their time working together, Ms Brooks progressed from deputy editor of The Sun to editor of the NOTW, then editor of The Sun and finally to chief executive of NI.

In a statement, police said: "The woman was arrested at approximately 6.55am on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice." Ms Carter was later released on police bail until later this month.

The former PA was made redundant after Ms Brooks resigned last July at the height of public outrage over allegations that the NOTW had hacked Milly Dowler's phone. Like her former boss, who started her career as a secretary on the NOTW, Ms Carter branched out from her administrative duties into writing for NI titles. She was The Sun's beauty editor, writing a column for the paper until November.

Former colleagues yesterday underlined the closeness of the working relationship between Ms Carter and Ms Brooks. One said: "Cheryl would have been trusted more than the managing editor, the editor or anyone else on the papers by a factor of 10. She was there all the hours God sends, from the crack of dawn to very late at night."

Ms Brooks, who was this week photographed on holiday in South Africa with her husband shortly before they are due to become parents through a surrogacy next month, was arrested in July on suspicion of conspiring to hack phones and making corrupt payments to police officers. Through her lawyers, she has denied any wrongdoing.

The former NI chief executive has been previously questioned by the House of Commons Media Select Committee about whether Ms Carter would have kept her appointment diaries from the past 19 years. Tom Watson, the Labour MP, asked Ms Brooks if Ms Carter had material from her diaries which would confirm her statement she had never met the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Ms Brooks replied: "No, [Cheryl] probably doesn't. We don't keep that for 19 years. I don't know."

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines