UK & World News

  • 6 December 2013, 7:12

Hacking: Brooks 'Agreed Pay For Bikini Picture'

Rebekah Brooks agreed a payment of £4,000 to a public official for a picture of Prince William dressed in a bikini at a Sandhurst party, a jury at the Old Bailey has heard.

The court heard Brooks, who at the time was editor of The Sun, had been asked to approve the payment in an email from her news editor who suggested the move could open the door to more Sandhurst exclusives, to which she allegedly replied: "OK."

It was claimed the picture was taken by Prince William's platoon commander in 2006, and another employee offered it to The Sun a few months later.

Royal communications secretary Patrick Harverson told the court of a phone conversation he had with Brooks over a story about Prince Harry which appeared in The Sun.

Mr Harverson said that during this conversation Brooks mentioned the bikini picture and said it would appear in the paper the next day.

He claimed he told her it was a private picture and it would be a breach of Prince William's privacy if it was published, to which Brooks agreed it would not be printed.

The picture that eventually appeared in the newspaper was a mock-up of the original picture with the headline: "Willy in a Bikini! Prince Dresses as a Bond Girl."

The accompanying article claimed: "Prince William caused a stir at a Sandhurst 007 bash by dressing as a Bond Girl." It added that his then-girlfriend Kate Middleton arrived dressed in a wetsuit.

The court heard a payment titled "Prince William wearing a bikini exclusive" for the amount of £4,000 was to be collected by the wife of a member of the armed forces from a branch of Thomas Cook.

The Sun reporter working on the story told his superior in the email later forwarded to Ms Brooks that the picture had come from his "best contact at Sandhurst".

Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, denies two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.