News of the World hacked Prince Harry’s voicemail message
A voicemail message left by Prince Harry was hacked by the News of the World, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales has heard.
The Old Bailey’s jury was shown a transcript of the hacked message to an aide asking for help with an essay while the prince was at Sandhurst military academy.
The 2005 document was one kept by former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, who denies misconduct in public office.
Clive Goodman is one of eight people who deny a series of charges at the trial of former News of the World journalists.
He was jailed for phone hacking in 2007 and subsequently dismissed.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the court that documents from Clive Goodman’s employment case against News International had recently become available after he waived his legal privilege.
Clive Goodman kept the documents as evidence to show that what he had done had been sanctioned at a high level of the News of the World, Andrew Edis said.
The first document shown to the jury was a transcript of a voicemail message Prince Harry left on the mobile phone of Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, an ex-SAS man serving as his private secretary, asking for information about the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege in London.
The transcript included the words: “Just wondering if you have any info at all on siege on the Iranian embassy because I need to write an essay quite quickly on that. I need some inf. Have most of the stuff but if you have extra.”
Andrew Edis told the jury that the voicemail came to the attention of Clive Goodman, who was interested in it as a potential allegation of misconduct to do with essay writing against Prince Harry.
The prince was at Sandhurst doing his officer training when the events took place around December 2005.
The message was accessed by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed for phone hacking along with Clive Goodman and has admitted further phone-hacking charges.
The court heard there were discussions between Clive Goodman and his boss, then News of the World editor Andy Coulson, in which they decided not to refer to the siege in their newspaper’s story as it would be “too precise to get through unnoticed”.
Andrew Edis said: “It means that if they say that what he was asking about was information about the Iranian Embassy siege, everyone would know that they hacked his voicemail because obviously Harry and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton both knew that this voicemail was sent and received.”
He suggested to the jury that the reason Clive Goodman had kept the emails was because of his arrest.
Clive Goodman’s prosecution caused Andy Coulson, 45, who denies charges including conspiracy to phone hack, and others at News International to be “extremely worried about what Goodman would do, or say, in the course of defending himself”.
Andrew Edis continued: “We can see that they had every reason to be worried.”
The court heard that concern about keeping Clive Goodman “on-board” was also felt by former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks who was at this time, in May 2007, editor of the Sun.
Andrew Edis told the jury about an email exchange between Rebekah Brooks and Clive Goodman in which she offered him a job on the Sun, shortly after he had been released from prison.
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