UK & World News
Coulson 'Knew Nothing' Of Milly Dowler Hacking
Former News of the World Editor Andy Coulson has denied he played any part in the hacking of the mobile phone messages of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
It was the revelation the Sunday tabloid had accessed the 13-year-old's voicemail messages, after her disappearance in 2002, which led to the closure of the newspaper.
The Old Bailey phone hacking trial has heard how Andy Coulson was the News of the World's deputy editor at that time of the teenager's disappearance, but had taken charge of the paper as then editor Rebekah Brooks was on holiday in Dubai.
Giving evidence for a second day in the witness box, Mr Coulson said he had never engaged in illegal hacking activity, nor known about attempts to tap into the Dowlers' messages.
The 46-year-old was asked by his legal counsel, Timothy Langdale, what his reaction might have been had he known that anyone at the newspaper had hacked into the schoolgirl's phone messages.
Mr Coulson said: "I would have been very concerned. My instinctive reaction would have been to think this was interference in a police investigation."
The witness said he was aware of the practice of phone hacking in "very vague terms. I think it was in the ether. It was something that was gossiped about maybe".
He was asked: "Were you ever party to or in agreement with phone hacking at the News of the World?"
Coulson said: "No I was not."
In the spring of 2002, Coulson said he was not aware that to access someone else's voicemail messages was a crime.
But he said: "I would have thought it was intrusive, I would have thought that it was a breach of privacy, and I also would have thought that it was lazy journalism.
Coulson resigned from the News of the World in 2007 shortly after a hacking scandal involving the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glen Mulcaire.
He went on to become David Cameron's Downing Street communications director, before having to resign from that job in the wake of the Milly Dowler hacking revelations.
He is charged with conspiring to hack phones with Rebekah Brooks and Stuart Kuttner and conspiring with Clive Goodman to commit misconduct in public office.
Seven defendants are on trial at the Old Bailey, all deny the charges against them.