Brooks’ PA had planned ‘move to Australia’

The family of a personal assistant to former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks had been in the process of emigrating to Australia when the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World (NOTW) erupted.


The trial at the Old Bailey in London was told on Tuesday that Cheryl Carter threw out about 30 notebooks, hours before it was announced that the Sunday newspaper was to close.

But Mrs Carter, 49, who with Brooks denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by disposing of potential evidence, said the notebooks were hers and anything belonging to her boss was returned to the office, the court was told.

In a taped interview with police, she said Brooks’s personal items included diaries, speeches, a signed football shirt and a party guest list for Ross Kemp, Brooks’s former husband.

She said: “The stuff that was mine was a lot to do with when I was beauty editor.

“I used to do a column for two years. I tore them [notepads] up and put them into the recycling.”

Her son, Nick Carter, 24, denied that there was anything suspicious about taking seven boxes of notebooks, belonging to Brooks, home for his mother on July 8, 2011 – as the tabloid was preparing for its final edition.

He said he had no idea what was in them or what happened to them, and he never asked his mother about them.

Mr Carter said he had worked for News International since getting a part-time job at the age of 15.

Thomas Burke, QC, defending, asked him: “So taking items from work home to your mum’s house was something you did at least once a week for years and years?”

Mr Carter replied: “It was a regular occurrence, yes.”

He said the next he heard of the boxes was when police asked him for a statement on November 24, 2011. His parents were on their way home from Australia, to where they were considering emigrating, he said.

He said the family had begun considering a move in the early 2000s and had been granted a visa in February 2007, years before the boxes were removed.

Before deciding to move there, his parents made one final trip when his mother had an interview with the Perth Times.

But in January 2012, the family had to leave her behind because she had been arrested. They hoped that she would be able to join them later. Their plans changed after she was charged and became unwell, the court was told.

The court was played a recording of a police interview with Cheryl Carter, in which she said she had been contacted by a News International archivist asking her to retrieve boxes.

She said: “I think it was something along the lines of ‘are you coming to collect this stuff?'”

She said the archives were used for temporary storage, as well as for permanent archiving.

She told police: “Excuse my language, but any old s*** you had, you stuffed it down there [the archives].”

The court was told that police who later went to search Brooks’s desk at NI did not ask Cheryl Carter about any of the boxes of files around the chief executive’s desk.

Cheryl Carter told detectives in interview: “Behind me and in front of me was filing, and they would have been able to see it.

“But no one asked me. They would have been able to go through everything.”

The defendants, including Clive Goodman, Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Charles Brooks and Mark Hanna, deny all the charges.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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