Police confiscate passport from Brooks' assistant

 

The executive personal assistant to Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, has had her passport confiscated, been separated from her family and been forced to postpone a new career with Rupert Murdoch's media empire in Australia following her arrest as part of the phone-hacking affair.

Cheryl Carter, who was arrested last month by officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting team, which was set up to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World, had been preparing to fly to Australia at the end of January to start a new life with News Ltd, part of News Corp.

But following her arrest and further questioning, police have told her to remain in the UK. Her husband and family are understood to have flown to Australia to meet visa requirements.

Ms Carter, 47, was the 17th person to be held by the Operation Weeting team. She was arrested at her home in Billericay, Essex, only days before she and her husband and two children were due to leave for Australia. She worked directly for Ms Brooks for many years and is understood to have left NI shortly after the former chief executive resigned from the company in the summer.

Sources at NI said that she had been planning to move to Australia for many years. But other colleagues were surprised at Ms Carter's planned departure and that she was able to get a visa from the Australian authorities.

"Cheryl is an Essex girl through and through and devoted to her family," said one. "It's quite difficult to get to Australia and Cheryl is a make-up expert – she doesn't exactly have expert skills."

Ms Carter worked for Ms Brooks for 19 years and was intimate with her working arrangements. She was PA to Ms Brooks as she climbed the ladder at NI, being appointed News of the World editor in 2000, Sun editor in 2003, and then NI chief executive in 2009.

Ms Carter was also a beauty editor for The Sun and is a partner in a cosmetics business with former model and celebrity make-up artist Sue Moxley, and has also offered beauty tips on the website Thinkingslimmer.com.

In recent weeks, police have arrested a succession of senior journalists at The Sun as part of the Operation Elveden inquiry into alleged bribery of public officials. In a backlash led by the paper's assistant editor, Trevor Kavanagh, complaints have been made that the arrests, which have included the ripping up of floorboards and the searching of children's possessions, have amounted to a "witch-hunt".

News Corp's Management & Standards Committee, which is working alongside the police in identifying potential criminality, has made representations to Scotland Yard asking that officers are less aggressive when carrying out raids on the homes of journalists. The Yard has defended the raids as proportionate and necessary.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas