Rebekah Brooks leaving the Old Bailey courthouse in London yesterday.
LONDON: Former Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks yesterday denied knowing anything about phone hacking while she was editor of Britain’s News of the World tabloid, as she took the stand for the first time in her trial.
Brooks is charged with hacking, bribing public officials and two counts of trying to cover up her alleged crimes, although she was cleared of a fifth charge of approving a payment for a photo of Prince William in a bikini.
Almost three years after she was first arrested in July 2011 and three and a half months into the trial, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International newspapers finally had a chance to put her side of the story.
Brooks was asked by her lawyer if she had ever heard mentioned the name of Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective who worked for the tabloid while she was editor and was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking.
Seated in the witness box at London’s Old Bailey court in a blue dress and white cardigan, her red curly hair pinned back, she replied: “No”.
When asked if hacking had ever been brought to her attention, Brooks replied: “No, not at all.”
The 45-year-old acknowledged that private detectives were used at the News of the World but added: “It is common practice in Fleet Street.”
Brooks edited the Murdoch tabloid from 2000 to 2003 before becoming editor of its sister paper, The Sun. In 2009 she was promoted to chief executive of all Murdoch’s British newspapers in the News International group.