Phone-hacking trial: Brooks PA 'wanted NoW notes back'

Rebekah Brooks The notebooks were sent to the archive around the time Mrs Brooks become chief executive of News International

Ex-News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks's PA asked for notebooks to be returned from the News International archive the day after staff were told the tabloid was closing, a court heard.

Archivist Nicholas Mays told the Old Bailey that Cheryl Carter's request was given a "greater degree of urgency" after he discussed the matter with her.

The notes covered 1995 to 2007.

Mrs Brooks, her husband Charlie, and Ms Carter deny hiding evidence from police investigating phone-hacking.

The trial heard that Ms Carter made the request for the return of the notebooks the day after the News of the World's closure was announced in 2011.

The prosecution said these belonged to Mrs Brooks but a note written by Mr Mays said Ms Carter claimed the notebooks belonged to her or another assistant at the company.

They had been sent to the archive by Ms Carter in September 2009, around the time Mrs Brooks stepped down as editor of the Sun to become chief executive of News International. Mrs Brooks had joined the Sun after leaving the NoW in 2003.

The court heard that Ms Carter initially asked for Mrs Brooks's notebooks to be removed from the News International archive but when collecting them said they in fact belonged to her or another assistant.

Removal of boxes

Mr Mays told the jury he had noted the initial request for Mrs Brooks's items in his diary.

Trevor Burke QC, representing Ms Carter, asked him why he recorded "in your diary... Cheryl Carter asked for Rebekah Brooks's notebooks but when she collected them she said they're my notebooks or Deborah Keegan's notebooks."

Mr Mays said he had recorded what Ms Carter said.

He was also asked why, given the ongoing police investigation, he had not put a "hold order" on the notebooks.

Mr Burke said: "There was nothing to stop her retrieving them, you didn't seek to stop her... even after Rebekah Brooks was arrested... you did nothing to notify anyone."

Mr Mays said the removal of boxes from the Enfield archive was "entirely within company policies and procedures at the time".

Mrs Brooks, Mr Brooks and Ms Carter are charged with perverting the course of justice by concealing evidence from the police investigation into phone hacking.

The trial continues.

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