Rebekah Brooks' bodyguard David Johnson charged over allegations of conspiring to hide computers from police

 

A bodyguard assigned to former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was today charged with conspiring to thwart police investigations into phone hacking and the alleged bribing of public officials by journalists.

David Johnson, 47, who was working for News International in July 2011 when allegations emerged that the News of the World had accessed the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, is accused of conspiring with others to hide computers and other items from detectives.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was satisfied there was enough evidence to charge Mr Johnson, from Mitcham, Surrey, with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between 15 and 19 July 2011.

He will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court next week for a preliminary hearing in the case. He is accused along with six others, including Mrs Brooks and her husband Charlie and NI's head of security, Mark Hanna.

In a statement, Gregor McGill, a senior CPS lawyer, said: "Following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that David Johnson, a security professional who was employed to provide a protection service to Rebekah Brooks, should be charged with an offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice.

"It is alleged that between 15 and 19 July 2011 Mr Johnson conspired to pervert the course of justice by concealing computers and other items from the Metropolitan Police Service during its investigation into allegations of phone hacking and the corruption of public officials by journalists."

Mrs Brooks was the former editor of the News of the World and The Sun editor before she became became chief executive of NI in 2009. She stepped down July 2011 in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

Her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter is also facing a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in connection with the case.