Phone-hacking trial: Rebekah Brooks felt 'shock and horror' at Dowler hacking and was unaware of Glen Mulcaire contract, court hears

Brooks denies conspiring to hack phones and cover up evidence to pervert the course of justice

Rebekah Brooks claimed she only found out the News of World had hacked the phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler nine years after the illegal action happened, the jury in the phone-hacking trail was told.

The former News International chief executive, who edited Rupert Murdoch's top-selling tabloid between 2000 and 2003, said she felt “shock, horror, everything” when details of the Dowler hacking were published in July 2011.

Mrs Brooks, who was on holiday in Dubai when the NOTW published details from the schoolgirl's voicemails in April 2002, told the court that she had known nothing of the “tasking” of the specialist phone hacker, Glen Mulcaire, to access the 13-year-old's messages.

Although News International were already under significant legal and political pressure over the fall-out from phone hacking, the Dowler hacking sparked the decision by Mr Murdoch to close the NOTW. It also had a direct effect on David Cameron's eventual decision to order a judicial inquiry that was led by Lord Justice Leveson.

During the holiday break in Dubai with her former husband, Ross Kemp, Mrs Brooks denied that a stream of telephone calls and text messages to the London offices of the NOTW signified she knew of, and was controlling, the coverage of the Dowler story that contained illegally-obtained voicemails.

Previously the court had learned that the hacking of the schoolgirl's phone took place between 10 and 12 April, the period when Mrs Brooks was in the Middle East.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, her lead counsel, asked if the Dowler hacking had ever been brought to her attention, then or soon after. “Absolutely not” she answered.

The court has heard that Mrs Brooks had a relationship with her then deputy, Andy Coulson. She confirmed this had involved “periods of intimacy” with Mr Coulson, who later became Mr Cameron's communications chief in 10 Downing Street.

During her holiday Mr Coulson was editing the paper. She told the court that she did not recall having discussions with Mr Coulson from Dubai that related to the disappearance of Milly Dowler.

The jury heard that Mrs Brooks had not been aware of the legal changes introduced in 2000 that made phone hacking illegal. “I didn't think anybody, including me, knew it was illegal,” she said.

She said that hacking would not have helped the “campaigning” and “investigations” journalism carried out by the NOTW under her editorship,

She said that no journalist had ever come to her and asked her to sanction the use of phone hacking. Although not knowing it was “illegal” she said that it represented a “serious breach of privacy”.

On the use of private investigators, she told the court that at that time in Fleet Street their use was regarded as “pretty normal.”

Mulcaire, convicted of phone hacking in 2007, pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges earlier in the trial's proceedings. He was given a £92,000 a year contract with the NOTW in 2001, that was paid in weekly sums of £1,769.

Mrs Brooks said she was never shown his contract, and had not heard of the company name - Euro Research and Information - that he used. She said the contract should have been authorised at the highest level within News International, including herself, but was signed by Greg Miskiw, then the NOTW's news editor.

The jury has been told that Miskiw also pleaded guilty to hacking related charges earlier in proceedings.

Mrs Brooks denies charges of involvement in a conspiracy to illegally access voicemail messages, bribing public officials, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Coulson denies the hacking and bribery charges against him.

The case continues.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform