Phone-hacking trial: David Blunkett believed someone 'very, very close' was intent on destroying his private life, court hears

The extent of the anger and frustration felt by the former home secretary is revealed in a series of voicemail recordings

The former home secretary David Blunkett was bemused about the “phenomenal amount” of information the media were getting hold of linked to his personal life and friends and believed someone “very, very close” was intent on destroying his private life, the jury at the Old Bailey hacking trial has heard.

The extent of the anger and frustration felt by Mr Blunkett was revealed to the court in a series of voicemail recordings left by him on the mobile telephone of a female estate agent he had met at Annabel’s nightclub in Mayfair in the autumn of 2005.

The tape recordings were found by police investigating phone hacking at the home of the private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, who worked for the now-shuttered News of the World. At the time Mr Blunkett was a high-profile Cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s government.

The personal messages left by Mr Blunkett for the woman, Sally Anderson,  were played to the court.

Along with serial apologies to Ms Anderson for allowing her to become a focus for journalists, Mr Blunkett is heard to say  she must “rue the day” she met him. The former home secretary then attacks the media intrusion as the work of “real b*****ds” who had “done it for the money.”  He sums up the position he and Ms Anderson were now in as “The world stinks.”

The attacks in the recordings continue with Mr Blunkett saying “whoever [has leaked the information]  I hope they rot in hell.” The media are also described as “hyenas” with Mr Blunkett promising he’ll try and shed some light on what is happening “and they’ll run back to the jungle”.

The Mayfair nightclub meeting was just after Mr Blunkett had become Mr Blair’s work and pensions secretary.

Leaked details of the Anderson friendship led to media being camped outside her house and contacting her friends and family.

Mr Blunkett, on the tapes, is heard saying he could not quite fathom how photographers appeared to have “chapter and verse” about his and Ms Anderson’s movements. Those responsible for putting Ms Anderson “under siege” and who “set her up” are described on the recording as “vile”.

The jury have been told by the prosecution that Ms Anderson’s  mobile phone was illegally hacked by NOTW.

The court was told of contact between the NOTW newsdesk and Mulcaire. Prior to the start of the trial, now into its third week, the jury were informed that Mulcaire, jailed for hacking in 2007, had pleaded guilty to further hacking-related charges.

As part of the Anderson timeline explanation to the jury, Andrew Edis QC, the lead prosecution counsel, said that during July and August 2005, in the run up to the Labour Party’s annual conference that year, Ms Anderson had engaged the services of the publicist Max Clifford.

Although during a trip to the United States with her future husband, made during the peak of the Blunkett media firestorm, Ms Anderson had been offered £150,000 by the NOTW for her story, she eventually decided sell to a rival Mirror title.

In her formal statement Ms Anderson recalled that during one of the Clifford meetings, Mr Blunkett had called her. She confirmed that she had given Mr Clifford permission to record the telephone conversation, and that the voicemails were handed over to the Mirror title.

The call’s details were published in a Sunday People article in October 2005.

David Blunkett brought a civil action against both the paper and Ms Anderson. A public apology was issued by Ms Anderson in March 2006.

In another statement read to the court Mr Blunkett said that although rumours suggested he was having an affair with the estate agent, this was not true.

Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive, and the former NOTW editor Andy Coulson, who later ran David Cameron’s Downing Street communications office, are among eight defendants who face an array of hacking, bribery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice charges.

All eight have denied all the charges against them.

The case continues.

Milly Dowler lawyer leaving UK for Los Angeles

Mark Lewis, the lawyer who played a pivotal role in exposing phone hacking inside News International, and who ended up representing the family of murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler in a massive £3m settlement personally supervised by Rupert Murdoch, is leaving Britain for Los Angeles.

"I've been in London for three years so it's time to move on," Mr Lewis told The Independent. Although he is heading west to California, he insisted he will still be pursuing hacking-related claims on both sides of the Atlantic.

Last year he married the journalist Caroline Feraday. “She is heading to LA – and I am following. Fortunately there are one or two things that I've been asked to pursue in the States,” he said.

Originally based in Manchester when he first came across evidence of hacking inside the News of the World, he said he now expected a “lot of long distance commuting” while he pursues his clients’ claims against both News UK and the Mirror Group titles.

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

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests