UK & World News

  • 26 February 2014, 21:22

Brooks-Coulson Relations 'Strained' Over Beckham

Rebekah Brooks has told of how her relationship with ex-lover Andy Coulson became "complicated" as they each chased David Beckham stories for rival papers.

Brooks began editing The Sun in 2003 while co-defendant Coulson took over from her at the News Of The World, jurors at the hacking trial heard.

Giving evidence for a fourth day at the Old Bailey where she is standing trial for conspiring to hack phones, Brooks told how she had lunch with Victoria Beckham as the stories about her husband's alleged affair were afoot.

"The two papers were rivals and pretty strong rivals. I think Andy and I had been very good at keeping the Chinese Wall," she told the central London court.

"It was a hostage to fortune discussing what we were working on. He was on the weekly, I was on the daily with more opportunity to publish.

"Beckham is a good example. So Andy would have known that I knew the Beckhams a little socially, we are not close friends but would see them occasionally for dinner. I was also trying to get Victoria or David to do things for the paper.

"He would know I had direct access to them so if he is working on a story and there is something afoot as the paper was working on the fact David Beckham was allegedly having an affair with a woman, to even mention that to me could be fatal to his paper.

"He would not know the day he mentioned it I had lunch with Victoria.

"So he may say on Thursday 'we will have the Beckham story this weekend' and I may respond 'sorry we are doing it tomorrow'. It was too complicated. Things were difficult, it was strained for a while."

The 45-year-old, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, denies conspiring to hack telephones, conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, and conspiring to cover up evidence to pervert the course of justice.

All seven defendants on trial deny the charges against them.

The court also heard Brooks had a "strong professional relationship" in 2004 with then home secretary David Blunkett after the pair worked together on campaigns.

Asked if she knew whether his voicemails had been hacked that year, Brooks replied: "Absolutely not."

She told the court Coulson contacted her the night before the NotW published a story on Mr Blunkett's alleged affair with a woman.

Her team at The Sun went "full steam ahead with the full name" of the woman as Kimberly Quinn in an exclusive story the next day, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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