Rebekah Brooks asked for office to be ‘swept’

Rebekah Brooks: Codenamed Blackhawk by newspaper's security.  Picture:Getty Images
Rebekah Brooks: Codenamed Blackhawk by newspaper's security. Picture:Getty Images
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Rebekah Brooks asked for her office to be “discreetly” swept for bugs, the hacking trial heard yesterday.

In January 2011, months before the closure of the News of the World and her resignation as chief executive of News International, Brooks e-mailed a request, copying in former head of security and co-defendant Mark Hanna.

It read: “Can you have my office swept… thanks. Discreetly.”

News International offices were routinely searched for listening devices to ensure that rival journalists could not find out about scoops and to keep private any discussions about the BSkyB bid, Jane Viner, the NI group director for property and facilities, confirmed.

Brooks had been sent “threatening mail” during 2011 as hacking allegations emerged, Ms Viner also told the Old Bailey trial.

Abusive mail was usually intercepted in the post room and, if it got through the first check, would be picked up by personal assistants, she said.

The court heard that, at the time, security around key executives had been stepped up.

Brooks was codenamed Blackhawk by security.

Brooks, 45, former editor of NotW and Sun, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Hanna deny a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

All seven defendants in the case, including Brooks’ husband Charles Brooks, Cheryl Carter, Stuart Kuttner, Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson, deny all the charges.

Later, the jury was shown CCTV footage from the Brooks’ home in Chelsea Harbour, in central London.

Shortly after Rebekah Brooks was arrested by police, her husband is seen entering the building and then exiting via an underground car park holding a jiffy bag and a laptop.

Within a minute, he returns to the building empty-handed.

The trial was adjourned until 10am today, when a police officer in the case will give evidence.