Charlie Brooks, the husband of Rebekah Brooks is seen in the garage of his plush London apartment block in this still image taken from video. REUTERS/REUTERS TV/Pool
The trial of Rebekah Brooks, who ran Rupert Murdoch's British
newspaper arm, was shown film footage of what the prosecution
alleges was her husband's attempt to hide evidence from
police investigating accusations of phone-hacking.
The day Brooks was first quizzed by police, and before her
home was searched, prosecutors say her husband, racehorse
trainer Charlie Brooks, hid a laptop and a bag behind a bin
in an underground parking lot of their plush London apartment
block where it was picked up by the Brooks's security team.
After the police completed a search, the security team
returned with a bag and left it in the car park. Prosecutors
say the plan went awry because a cleaner then found the
material and it was given to the police.
News International, the British newspaper division of
Murdoch's News Corp, became engulfed in the police inquiry in
2011 after it was alleged journalists had hacked the phone of
a murdered schoolgirl amongst others.
Both Charlie and Rebekah Brooks deny conspiracy to pervert
the course of justice by hiding material from detectives.
Brooks also denies conspiracy to hack phones and authorising
illegal payments to public officials.
The closed circuit television (CCTV) footage shown to the
jury captured Charlie Brooks emerging from a doorway
clutching a bag and a laptop on July 17, 2011, at about the
same time his wife, who had quit as News International boss
days earlier, was heading to a police station where she would
After looking around, he disappeared from view and less than
a minute later, the CCTV film showed him returning
On Tuesday, the jury at London's Old Bailey court saw Mark
Hanna, the ex-head of security at News International,
arriving at the car park about two hours later and phone
records indicated he had been in regular contact with Charlie
He disappeared out of camera shot, to the same area where
Brooks had been earlier, returning with a brown bag and other
material, before driving away. Hanna also denies a charge of
perverting the course of justice.
At about 3pm, seven detectives arrived and after a search of
the apartment - but not the car park area - lasting some two
hours, they left holding sealed bags with computers and other
Brooks then contacted Hanna, and shortly after 9:30 p.m,
following a flurry of calls between the security team, one
arrived at the car park. He gave another man two pizza boxes,
removed a large black bag from the car and also vanished from
view to the garbage area before returning empty-handed.
"Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Pizza delivered and the
chicken is in the pot," the security contractor wrote in a
text message to a colleague, prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron
told the court. The Broadsword phrase was a reference to the
film "Where Eagles Dare", which starred Richard Burton as a
However, the following day, while the couple went to their
lawyer's office, a cleaner discovered the black bag, the
court heard. On their return, a baffled-looking Charlie
Brooks and their security team were seen searching in vain
for the bag.
The court heard an employee at the apartment block had
contacted police and handed over a brown briefcase and a
black laptop to officers.
William Geddes, whose security firm had been employed to
protect Brooks from media intrusion and the "considerable
degree of risk from rogue individuals", told the court he had
been contacted about the concerns that her husband's property
had gone missing.
He said his team had dubbed it "pizzagate", and the court
heard an operative later sent him a text message which read:
"Filth (police) all over the underground car park ref
pizzagate. Mark is aware".
The trial of Hanna, Rebekah and Charlie Brooks, and that of
four others, is expected to last until at least April.