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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs