Police keep focus on Brooks's computers

Detectives still hold a laptop and an iPad found in a bin near the home of the former NI chief

Two computers found dumped in a private underground car park bin near the London home of the former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, remain the subject of police inquiries three months on. In the days after the laptop and iPad were recovered from the bin in Chelsea and given to police, a spokesman for Ms Brooks and her husband, the ex-racehorse owner and author Charlie Brooks, had said he expected them to be returned "forthwith".

But The Independent understands that the equipment remains with detectives, enquiries are "ongoing", and hard-drive content from the computers is being held by specialist officers. The Yard's continuing interest in the computers comes after it was revealed this weekend that Ms Brooks received £1.7m from News International soon after she resigned in July. Although arrested and bailed in connection with allegations of phone hacking and corruption only days after her resignation, the pay-off would not be unusual for someone with a lead role in a major global media company. But Ms Brooks has also been given an office in central London that will be paid for by NI for two years, and retains the use of a company limousine and chauffeur for the same period.

The Labour MP Tom Watson, who this Thursday will be part of the Commons committee re-questioning Ms Brooks's former boss, James Murdoch, said: "It is almost as if Rebekah Brooks hasn't really left the company. I'm sure he [Mr Murdoch] will want to explain this decision to his shareholders."

The computers and documents were found in the bin the day after Ms Brooks was arrested. She was held for 12 hours in connection with the Metropolitan Police's linked investigations into illegal phone hacking and payments to corrupt police officers. The following afternoon, 18 July, after Ms Brooks had been released on bail, police were called to the car park of the Design Centre at the exclusive Chelsea Harbour complex where a bag containing the equipment was discovered in a bin. Mr Brooks's explanation at the time was that the bag and its contents were his and had "nothing to do" with his wife or the Yard probe. Two executives from Bell Pottinger, the PR company that represents the pair, said they could make no comment as the equipment is part of "ongoing" police enquiries. A spokesman for the firm said in July that the laptop was accidentally left in the car park by a friend who had been returning it.

He said it was thought a cleaner had put the bag in a rubbish bin. The bag was handed to a security guard who called the police around the same time that Mr Brooks, having realised it was missing, apparently arrived in the car park.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?