Daniel Evans leaves the Old Bailey courthouse after giving
evidence in London. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
A former journalist on Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News
of the World tabloid and its rival Sunday Mirror has admitted
conspiring to hack into hundreds of phones to get exclusive
stories about celebrities.
Daniel Evans told London's Old Bailey Court he had been a
prolific phone-hacker and that Andy Coulson, one of Murdoch's
ex-editors and later Prime Minister David Cameron's media
chief, had known what he did before employing him.
He is the fourth former journalist from the News of the World
to have admitted conspiracy to hack phones, but the first
from the rival Sunday Mirror title.
Giving evidence at the trial of Coulson and another
ex-Murdoch editor, Rebekah Brooks, on charges of conspiracy
to hack phones, Evans confirmed he had pleaded guilty last
September to the same charge.
He also confirmed he had admitted conspiracy to commit
misconduct in a public office, intending to pervert the
course of justice and that he had entered into an agreement
with prosecutors last August.
Legal restrictions have meant his plea could not be reported
until now, and shares in Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror
closed down almost 4 percent.
Evans' dramatic testimony came after British film star Jude
Law appeared in the witness box and told the court the press
seemed to know an "unhealthy amount" about his private life.
Evans, 38, told a hushed courtroom he had hacked into the
phones of celebrities, having been shown the trick by a
figure at the Sunday Mirror tabloid where he got a staff job
Asked what his role had entailed, he told the court:
"Principally I was tasked with newsgathering ... and latterly
with hacking people's voicemails."
In 2005, a former colleague who knew of his hacking skills,
James Weatherup, offered him a job at the now-defunct News of
the World. Initially he declined, telling the court he did
not want to be Weatherup's "pet phone-hacker".
A few months later, another journalist from the News of the
World who also was aware of Evans' "dark art" skills
approached him about a job, and he told the court he had met
up with him and Coulson at a hotel in central London.
Evans said when he told Coulson he could use phones to bring
in exclusive stories cheaply, it was the "Ker-Ching moment".
"Andy knew what the context of it was," he told the jury.
Weatherup has already admitted conspiracy to hack phones, the
court has heard. Coulson has denied all knowledge.
HACKING MOST DAYS
The trial of two of the most high profile editors in British
history began in October and is likely to run until May. The
allegation that journalists had hacked into thousands of
phones to generate stories, and the subsequent closure of the
tabloid, sent shockwaves through the industry.
Evans, who gave evidence for over two hours and who will
return on Tuesday, said he moved across to Murdoch's rival
Sunday tabloid with an extensive list of numbers and details
he used to hack the phones of celebrities and their
On his first day at the News of the World, he was given a
list of names and tasked with hacking those he thought would
be of interest.
Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis if he had hacked many names
on a list, Evans replied: "I did, yeah", adding he had
targeted about a couple of hundred people, making more than a
thousand calls to their voicemails.
When asked how often he did it, he said: "Probably most
days." He later said he had probably hacked more phones while
working at the Sunday Mirror.
Trinity Mirror said in a statement on Monday: "We do not
tolerate wrongdoing within our business and take any
allegations seriously. It is too soon to know how this matter
will progress and further updates will be made if there are
any significant developments."
Coulson, who went on to become Cameron's media spokesman
before quitting in 2011, and Brooks, who later ran News
Corp.'s British newspaper arm News International, are on
trial accused of conspiring to illegally intercept voicemail
messages on mobile phones.
Brooks and Coulson are also accused of authorising illegal
payments to public officials while Brooks faces charges of
perverting the course of justice by attempting to conceal
evidence from police.
Brooks, Coulson, and five others on trial deny all the