A NEWS International archivist handed over boxes of then-boss Rebekah Brooks’s notebooks, hours after Andy Coulson was arrested in connection with phone hacking, the Old Bailey heard.
Long-serving employee Nick Mays, who worked as an archivist from 2008, told the court he was contacted by Brooks’s personal assistant Cheryl Carter and told to get hold of the boxes, shortly after former Sun editor Coulson’s arrest on 8 July, 2011.
The court heard Carter made several attempts to contact Mr Mays on that date, requesting to speak with him “asap”.
Mr Mays said the delivery of the boxes, which Carter later claimed were crammed with her own notebooks from her time as a weekly beauty columnist, were originally due to be delivered the following Monday, but were upgraded to “urgent” – arriving just before the News of the World closed.
Former NotW 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.
Prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron took the jury through evidence of how Carter contacted Mr Mays, requesting the boxes with the words “please return Rebekah’s books”.
The notebooks, which dated back to 1995, were then permanently removed from storage at the company’s Enfield site.
Asked by Thomas Burke, defending Carter, about the removal of the notebooks and why he did not mention it to police following Brooks’ arrest, Mr Mays said: “The request was entirely normal.
“In terms of removal of the boxes from the Enfield site, it was entirely within the company’s policies and procedures at the time.”
The court also heard how Brooks’ husband, a co-defendant in the trial, bought up some of the corporate silver owned by News International as it moved from its offices in Wapping, east London, to new premises in the capital.
Mr Mays did not disclose what the purchase involved, or the value of the silver, but said he had to be in contact with Carter to organise payment.
Former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, and Coulson face two allegations that they conspired together and with other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office.
Coulson is also accused of conspiring to hack phones.
That charge is also faced by former tabloid editor Brooks, and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73.
Brooks faces two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.
She also faces a second allegation of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – aside from the charge with Carter – with her husband Charles Brooks, and former News International head of security Mark Hanna and others.
The defendants deny the charges and the trial continues.