The former royal editor of the now-defunct News of the World warned his managing editor that he was aware that, if payments to his confidential sources were traced, they would all be jailed, the phone-hacking trial has heard.
In an email to former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, which he forwarded to Kuttner’s PA Beverley Stokes, Clive Goodman discussed the contacts that he only paid in cash.
Two were “in uniform” while the third worked at a rival newspaper and was therefore taking a serious risk, the jury at the Old Bailey was told.
The email, of July 2005, read: “Morning, Stuart. Understand that, as you know, there are only three people I ever pay in cash.
“Two are in uniform and we - them, you, me, the editor - would all end up in jail if anyone traced their payments. They’ve had Special Branch crawling all over them since we ran a five-par story about an Operation Trident arrest at Clarence House.
“Thanks to the way we pay them, they’re untraceable.
“The third is an executive at another newspaper who is also taking on potentially life-altering risks for us and will not accept any other form of payment.”
Goodman discussed the arrangement of payments with Mrs Stokes, the trial heard.
He referred, in one message of April 2006, to payments that needed to be made to “Mr Alexander” - a codename used for private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
The court has already heard that former AFC Wimbledon striker Mulcaire has admitted hacking phones.
Goodman told Mrs Stokes that Mr Alexander was “the most important in terms of the contact” and he was hoping to get a story about Prince Harry from him.
The email read: “I’m relying heavily on him to work his magic over Harry’s passing-out party.”
When reassured by Mrs Stokes that the payments were going to be made, Goodman told the PA: “Fantastic. I won’t be found in the Thames wearing concrete wellies tonight.”
He added in a further email to her: “As long as they’re useful, I don’t ask many questions about their Sunday school records.”
News of the World (NotW) and Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire; Andy Coulson, also 45, from Charing in Kent; ian Edmondson, 44, from Raynes Park, south west London; and Kuttner, 73, from Woodford Green, Essex, all deny conspiring with others to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006.
As well as the phone-hacking charge, Brooks is also accused of two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office - one between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012 and the other between February 9 2006 and October 16 2008 - linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.
Former editor Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003, and between January 31 and June 3 2005.
Brooks also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, from Chelmsford in Essex, between July 6 and 9 2011, and a second with her husband, Charles Brooks, and former head of security at News International Mark Hanna and others between July 15 and July 19 2011.