David Blunkett recordings 'discovered in lawyer's safe'

David Blunkett Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Blunkett was confronted about his relationship in August 2004 by Andrew Coulson, then NoW editor

Recordings of messages left by David Blunkett on a married woman's phone were found in the safe of a News International lawyer, a jury has heard.

Police discovered tapes of voicemails from the then home secretary to Kimberly Quinn in the office of Tom Crone, the phone-hacking trial heard.

The recordings were described as "deeply personal and intrusive".

The News of the World exposed Mr Blunkett's three-year relationship with Ms Quinn in 2004.

During Thursday's evidence, the court was told of an alleged conspiracy to hack the voicemails of the former cabinet minister.

The jury was shown notes made by NoW private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, relating to Mr Blunkett - which included his phone numbers, address and details of his sons.

Mulcaire has already admitted phone hacking.

'Deeply personal'

The notes referred to "multiple recordings, over 330", some of which were voice messages left by Mr Blunkett on Ms Quinn's phone.

Tapes of the recordings were recovered from the safe of Tom Crone - a lawyer for News International, the parent company of The Sun and NoW.

Some of the voicemails and transcripts found by police detailed Mr Blunkett's feelings about the end of the relationship with Ms Quinn, the jury heard.

Giving evidence, Det Con Tim Hargreaves, from the Metropolitan Police's investigation into phone hacking, described them as "deeply personal and intrusive".

The court was told that police also recovered a draft version of a story on Mr Blunkett's affair, apparently written by reporter Neville Thurlbeck.

Throughout the draft, he referred to the cabinet minister and the woman by the code names "Noddy", for Mr Blunkett, and "Big Ears".

The jury then heard that Mr Blunkett was visited in August 2004 by Andrew Coulson, the then editor of the NoW, who wanted the politician to admit to the relationship.

Mr Blunkett recorded the meeting, in which Mr Coulson told him the paper was planning to publish the story.

Mr Coulson was heard to say: "What I will tell you is that I am certainly very confident of the information.

"My job is to make sure that I sift out the nonsense from the accurate information and either I do my job well or I don't do my job well. I believe the story to be true..."

He added: "It is based on extremely reliable sources."

The jury was then shown the NoW story from 15 August that exposed the relationship, quoting "a source".

But the prosecution argued the source being referred to was the taping of the hacked voicemails of Ms Quinn.

The jury also heard that Mulcaire had made out a bill for £750 for "Project Blunkett", which included "inquiries, observations and other research".

Mr Coulson, 45, of Charing, Kent, denies both conspiracy to hack phones and conspiracy to commit misconduct.

Ex-England manager

Earlier in court, the judge warned that evidence suggesting Sven-Goran Eriksson's phone was hacked over four years by the NoW should not be taken as fact.

It had been alleged on Wednesday that the ex-England manager and FA employee Faria Alam were monitored by Mulcaire between 2002 and 2006.

The phone-hacking trial heard the paper then exposed their relationship.

But Mr Justice Saunders stressed it was not accepted by the defence that all of Mulcaire's notes about the pair were from phone hacks.

The trial continues.

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