News / Europe

Murdoch Told Me Not to Quit amid Phone-Hacking Row - Brooks

Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive leaves the Central Criminal Court in London where she appeared to face charges related to phone hacking, Feb. 19, 2014.
Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive leaves the Central Criminal Court in London where she appeared to face charges related to phone hacking, Feb. 19, 2014.
Reuters
Rebekah Brooks, former boss of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper arm, told a London court on Tuesday how the media mogul had persuaded her not to quit amid public revulsion over the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl's phone.
 
Brooks, on trial for phone-hacking offenses, said a 2011 report that journalists on Murdoch's News of the World tabloid had tapped the voicemail messages of 13-year-old Milly Dowler had caused a national scandal, with her at its center, describing it at the time as a “sexist witch hunt”.
 
Despite the furore, Murdoch and other senior figures told her not to resign, and she told the Old Bailey court that former Prime Minister Tony Blair and CNN talk show host Piers Morgan had also contacted her to offer support.
 
After she finally quit when her role became untenable, she said she was escorted from the company's London headquarters following demands from the police.
 
The outrage began on July 4, 2011, when the Guardian newspaper reported that journalists from the News of the World (NoW) had accessed voicemails on the girl's mobile phone while she was missing nine years earlier, and had deleted some, giving her parents false hope that she was still alive.
 
The scandal led Murdoch to close the 168-year-old newspaper and ditch a $12 billion bid to take full control of British pay-TV operator BSkyB.
 
The court has heard Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective who worked for the paper, has admitted hacking Dowler's phone but police had ascertained he had not deleted any voicemails.
 
Brooks, the NoW editor at the time of the hacking of which she denies all knowledge, said she had been at a fertility clinic with her cousin, who was carrying her surrogate baby, when she was alerted to the news. “First of all I didn't believe it,” she said. “It was pretty horrific.”

Messages of support
 
She said the news had stunned bosses at News International, News Corp's British paper business, and as the storm grew, leading to death threats against her, she had been deluged with messages of support from friends and colleagues.
 
“When it rains, it ... pours. Grit your teeth and stay strong,” Morgan wrote in a message to her. She replied: “Terrible, made me feel sick watching the news, can't believe any reporter could do that, must have been Mulcaire.”
 
Later she heard from Blair. “Thinking of you. Anything I can help you with. I have been through things like this,” he wrote.
 
In another exchange, a friend suggested the anger directed at her was misogynistic, prompting her reply: “Feeling slightly like a sexist witch hunt at times.”
 
Days after news of the hacking, the decision was taken to close the paper, which she said had led to anger from its staff because while they were losing their jobs, she was keeping hers.
 
Brooks told the jury there was no immediate suggestion she should quit from her bosses including Murdoch's son James, in charge of News International (NI) at the time.
 
When Rupert Murdoch flew into London on July 10 to deal with the growing scandal, she said: “He asked me not to [resign,]” adding as the week went on the situation changed.

"Impossible to carry on"
 
“Although Rupert Murdoch didn't want me to resign that day, it was obvious it was impossible for me to carry on in that position,” she told the court. She said there were discussions about whether she should resign or take a leave of absence, complicated by her being summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee the following week.
 
She told the court it was hoped if she went as CEO, Rupert and James Murdoch might not have to appear. In the end, they were called as well.
 
By July 14, it was felt by everyone it would be better if she quit, she said. The following day her resignation was announced and she began a tour of the News International headquarters to make her farewells.
 
She said: “[NI executive] Will Lewis said the situation had changed, the police want you out of the building immediately. Will did use this phrase something like if you don't leave immediately, they're going to send the pandas [police cars] round.” She was told she couldn't take anything with her.
 
Two days later, she was arrested after going by arrangement to a police station, spending “quite a few hours” in a cell.
 
Prosecutors have told the court that her husband Charlie was involved in a plot to remove material from their London flat before police arrived to search it.
 
The jury was told his plan failed because a cleaner found a bag they had tried to hide. Brooks said the day after her arrest, Charlie, who is also in the dock on a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, had told her about a “mix-up”.
 
“He said he had given his bag to security. It seemed like a very odd story,” she said.
 
“He had hidden his rather large porn collection. He then said to me the police had found his bag by the bin. It seemed like a monumental cock-up. It was just kind of the final straw in what had been a cataclysmic few days.”
 
Brooks denies conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemails, authorizing illegal payments to public officials and perverting the course of justice.
 
Her trial and that of her husband and five others continues.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid