UK & World News
Sarah Payne's Mother Praises Rebekah Brooks
Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was murdered in 2000, has praised ex-newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks and said the News Of The World had been a "force for good".
Mrs Payne gave her support to Brooks and retired managing director Stuart Kuttner as a witness at the phone hacking trial at the Old Bailey, saying the pair had provided personal support during the search for her daughter and the Sarah's Law campaign.
"It's easy to forget in these dark times the NOTW has often been a force for good and it has something to do with the people who worked on it," Mrs Payne said.
"I do not pretend they are perfect or always got things right."
Brooks was "always in the foreground" of the campaign, Mrs Payne said, going on to explain: "I did not sleep. I could call at two o'clock in the morning and she would pick up the phone."
Mrs Payne, called by Kuttner's legal team as a character witness, said he was a "gentleman".
"He is everything my parents taught me about being a gentleman and having manners. He is a good guy. He has always been there to listen," she added.
Mrs Payne, who wrote an article for the last edition of the NOTW, described being in the newsroom during the last week in 2011.
She said: "I spent some time in the newsroom and they were very, very down about stories going on in the media around the world. I felt they were almost mourning something."
She had a big picture of Sarah Payne brought in to remind them of "what they had achieved". Sarah's Law allows anyone to formally ask police if someone with access to a child has a record for child sex offences.
Brooks, 45 and Kuttner, 74, deny conspiring with others to hack phones between 2000 and 2009.
Kuttner's legal team also called former director of the Press Complaints Commission Guy Black as a character witness.
Lord Black told the court how Kuttner was a man he turned to for help during his time in the role between 1993 and 2003 and he "never did let me down".
After the Omagh bombing, he said Kuttner and the NOTW "led the way" for the media to leave the scene, allowing the community to "grieve and to heal" and he acted the same after the Dunblane tragedy.
He also helped "deliver real change" in the media in the wake of the Princess of Wales's death in 1997, Lord Black said.