Rebekah Brooks. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Rebekah Brooks' personal assistant told police
investigating phone-hacking allegations she withdrew boxes from
News International's archives at the height of the scandal
because it was convenient - and not to hide them, a court
Cheryl Carter, accused of helping her ex-boss conceal
material from police, said she had been asked by archivists
to remove seven boxes marked as notebooks belonging to Brooks
months earlier, but decided to get them when Brooks was on
holiday on July 8, 2011.
This was the day after it was announced that Murdoch's News
of the World tabloid was to be shut down amid anger at
allegations its staff had been involved in phone-hacking and
shortly after the paper's former editor Andy Coulson was
Carter and Brooks, the former boss of Rupert Murdoch's
British newspaper arm News International, are charged with
perverting the course of justice.
Brooks is also accused of conspiracy to hack phones and
authorising illegal payments to public officials, charges she
denies. Coulson and four others are also on trial over
similar accusations which they deny.
The Old Bailey jury heard that Carter had asked the company's
archivist, Nick Mays, to get the boxes from storage on July
The boxes, placed in the archive in 2009, were marked as
containing Brooks's notebooks from 1995 to 2007, during which
time she had been editor of both the News of the World and
Murdoch's daily Sun tabloid.
In a recorded interview with police, played to the jury,
Carter said she had been asked by Mays to remove material
from the archive as it was downsizing.
She said she had decided to deal with the boxes that week in
July because Brooks was on a "boot camp" holiday, where she
would be at home with a personal trainer.
Carter, who worked as Brooks's assistant for 16 years,
arranged for her son Nick and Brooks's driver to help take
the boxes from the archives. Her son then took them back to
She said the seven boxes mainly contained her belongings.
There were just three notebooks, a diary and photographs
belonging to Brooks, which she said she returned to the
"I threw away the rest of the stuff," she said.
In the interview, detectives read out a statement from Mays
in which he said he had not asked Carter to remove any
material from the archive, adding it indicated a "sinister"
explanation for her actions.
"I understand what you are saying but it is not like that,"
Earlier her lawyer told the court police had also suggested
that she was offered a job on a Murdoch paper in Australia as
a reward for helping Brooks hide the notebooks.
However, her son told the jury that the family had been
planning to emigrate and had had visas from 2007. They had
gone ahead with the move in early 2012, but had to abandon
the project after Carter was arrested.
Carter, who said she went to school with Brooks's first
husband Ross Kemp, said Brooks had let her write a Sun beauty
column and sobbed as she told police Brooks had got her son a
job as an editorial assistant at News International after he
had gone through a bad stage with acne.
Brooks was very kind and fair, but also tough, Carter said.
"She shouted quite a lot of time," she added.