UK & World News

  • 26 June 2014, 20:04

Cleared Rebekah Brooks: 'I Feel Vindicated'

Rebekah Brooks has said she feels "vindicated" after a jury cleared her of all charges in the phone-hacking trial.

In her first public comments since being acquitted, the former editor of the News Of The World said she was innocent.

She and racehorse trainer husband Charlie were both found not guilty at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

Another ex-editor of the now-defunct newspaper, Andy Coulson, was convicted of conspiring to hack phones.

Coulson, who used to be the Prime Minister's spin doctor, now faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced next week.

Speaking to reporters in London, former News International (NI) chief executive Mrs Brooks admitted the last three years had been "tough" for her and her husband.

However, she added: "But more importantly they've been tough for everybody on all sides that have been affected by the issues highlighted by this case."

She went on: "I feel vindicated by the unanimous verdicts. When I was arrested, it was in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy, of politics and of comment.

"Some of that was fair but much of it was not so I am very grateful to the jury for coming to their decision. It has been a time of reflection for me. I have learned some valuable lessons."

Mrs Brooks made no direct reference to Coulson as she faced a barrage of questions, but her husband said: "Obviously I am really concerned for Andy and (his wife) Eloise and their family."

He added: "Rebekah has been through an unprecedented investigation of an incredibly forensic and personal nature - the likes of which we have possibly never seen."

He also said he was "proud" of his wife's "dignity".

Mrs Brooks, 46, was cleared of hacking and misconduct in a public office for allegedly signing off payments to a Sun journalist's "number one military contact" between 2004 and 2012.

She was also found not guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice.

Mr Brooks, 52, was cleared of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011.

Retired managing editor of the paper, Stuart Kuttner, 74, was also cleared of being part of the hacking conspiracy dating back to 2000 and spanning six years.

Mrs Brooks' former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 50, and NI head of security Mark Hanna, 51, were both cleared of perverting the course of justice.

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