Rebekah Brooks' PA Cheryl Carter denies cover-up 'payment'


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The Independent Online

Rebekah Brooks’ former personal assistant has denied she was rewarded with a job offer in Australia for attempting to cover up evidence of phone hacking.

Cheryl Carter swore on her children’s lives that she did not destroy evidence that could have aided the investigation into Brooks and others in a police interview recorded before the Old Bailey trial.

She insisted the 30 archived notebooks she threw away shortly before the closure of the News of the World in 2011 were hers and anything belonging to her manager was returned to the office.

Her family had been considering moving to Australia after Carter, who wrote a beauty column in The Sun, was offered work at Murdoch paper the Perth Times.

In the interview, a police officer asked Carter: “That (the job offer) is not a payment in kind for you, having got rid of some property that might have helped the police investigation?"

She replied: ”Absolutely not. 100%. That's not what I'm about.“

The court heard Carter was unable to join the rest of her family after she was arrested.

Former News of the World and Sun editor Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Carter, 49, of Chelmsford, Essex, deny a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, by removing potential evidence which could have been inspected by police.

Her son, Nick Carter, said on Tuesday that the whole family began considering a move in the early 2000s and were granted a visa in February 2007, years before the boxes were removed.

Before deciding to move there, his parents made one final trip, when Carter had an interview with the Perth Times.

But in January 2012, the family were forced to leave her behind because she had been arrested, hoping she would be able to join them later. Their plans changed after she was charged and she became unwell, the court heard.

The trial has already heard that boxes Carter retrieved included several notebooks from her work as a beauty editor, as well as some of Brooks' diaries and notepads.

Asked by police if it ever crossed her mind there was anything suspicious or criminal in removing the boxes from the archives marked as being Brooks' notebooks, Carter told police: "I know that they were mine and I knew that I was going to return anything that was hers (Brooks).

“In my mind I did not think I was doing anything wrong.”

On the job in Australia, she added: “I don't really want to work for the paper. I need a job.

”I have lost my livelihood. I want to do my make-up there. Rebekah hasn't put in a word for me other than I'm a hard-working person.“

She said the new position was worth around £30,000 a year - half her salary as Brooks' personal assistant.