I regret hacking Kate’s phone, says ex-royal editor

Coulson, who told Goodman he was 'off the pace'.    Picture: HEMEDIA
Coulson, who told Goodman he was 'off the pace'. Picture: HEMEDIA
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A JOURNALIST convicted of phone hacking has said he does not hold a grudge against Andy Coulson, his former editor at the News of the World who is on trial accused of perjury.

Clive Goodman, the tabloid’s one-time royal editor, denied a suggestion he was willing to lie “at a drop of a hat” while giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday.

I did it. I wish I hadn’t but I can’t take it back

Clive Goodman

He told the jury that he wished he had never hacked the phones of princes William and Harry and Kate Middleton but could not take it back.

The court heard Goodman hacked the now-Duchess of Cambridge’s voicemail 155 times, including once on Christmas Day 2005 to check whether William had left her a message.

Goodman, 57, was working for the tabloid when he and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were held in 2006 over hacking.

Both pleaded guilty and Goodman got four months’ jail.

Coulson, a former director of communications at No 10, denies lying while giving evidence in the 2010 perjury trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

Prosecutors allege the 47-year-old falsely stated he did not know that Goodman and Mulcaire were involved in hacking before they were arrested.

Goodman, giving evidence for a third day, was asked by Coulson’s defence QC Murdo Mac-leod how he felt about hacking Harry’s phone. He said: “Now it feels very wrong. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on this and it’s not something I’m proud of. I’d dearly love to be able to move on but no-one seems to let me.”

Asked about hacking Kate’s phone, he added: “I did it. I wish I hadn’t but I can’t take it back.”

Goodman said his relationship with Coulson became “more and more difficult” and was “cool” by the time he left the paper. The witness agreed he felt his position was being threatened and he was “under pressure” to bring in more stories, but denied “under-performing”.

In other e-mails from Coulson to Goodman, the editor described the journalist’s column as “way off the pace” and asked for stories “of substance”.

Goodman said the defence had “picked a handful of e-mails showing me in a poor light”.

Mr Macleod asked: “Do you have a grudge against Andy Coulson?” The witness replied: “Now? No. Never have.”

The court also saw an e-mail Goodman sent to his sister, describing how he had an “unpleasant conversation with Andy” and how he had to “forget about the knife-hand-throat-strike that would have pushed his larynx out the back of his neck”. Goodman told the court: “It’s hyperbole.”

The trial continues.