Phone-hacking trial: Andy Coulson 'urged silence on hacking'

Former Editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson arrives at the Old Bailey Andy Coulson is one of seven people on trial at the Old Bailey

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An ex-News of the World journalist was told by editor Andy Coulson he would get his job back if he "kept silent" about the extent of phone hacking at the paper, the Old Bailey has heard.

Former royal editor Clive Goodman told the court the promise was made after his arrest for phone hacking in 2006.

The defendant, who was jailed for the illegal practice in 2007, said Mr Coulson had told him: "All you've got to do is say you were a lone wolf."

Both men deny the charges against them.

They are accused of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, while Mr Coulson also denies conspiracy to hack phones.

'Off the reservation'

The jury heard that six days after Mr Goodman's 2006 arrest, he met Mr Coulson at a cafe, and he was told all he had to do was "explain to a court that 'I had gone', in Andy's words, 'off the reservation'".

Start Quote

Lots of people at the News of the World were involved - I was the one who was caught”

End Quote Clive Goodman

"He said, 'All you've got to do is say you were a lone wolf'," Mr Goodman told the court.

Mr Goodman said the then editor had promised him that if he pleaded guilty and "made it clear I had acted alone" he could return to a job at the NoW as a writer or sub-editor.

He said Mr Coulson had also promised his family would be looked after.

"I thought it was pretty low to involve my family," said Mr Goodman, 56, of Addlestone, Surrey, who is giving evidence for a fourth day.

At one point, said the BBC's Robin Brant, who is in court, Mr Goodman appeared close to tears.

Clive Goodman, former royal editor of the News of the World, arrives at the Old Bailey Clive Goodman was arrested on 8 August 2006

Mr Goodman also claimed a News International lawyer told him, at a meeting in November following his arrest, that he would not be dismissed "as long as you don't implicate other people".

And in a meeting in December that year, Mr Goodman said the same lawyer - who cannot be named for legal reasons - used a "crude carrot and stick" to persuade him not to implicate any other NoW "executives".

The meeting happened shortly after Mr Goodman pleaded guilty to phone hacking.

'Felt threatened'

Mr Goodman said that, during discussions at the meeting, he "fully expected to be sacked" from the newspaper after being sentenced.

He went on to say the lawyer interrupted him and said: "It will only happen if you blame others. If you do that you can't really expect Andy [Coulson] to take you back."

Later, in an email to his lawyer, Henri Brandman, Mr Goodman said. "I felt more threatened by the message he [the NI lawyer] was asked to deliver today than I have been by much of the prosecution case."

Who are the defendants?

Hacking trial defendants

Mr Goodman has previously told the Old Bailey his former boss agreed in 2005 to payments that led to three phones in the royal household being hacked.

He told Wednesday's hearing he made it clear to Mr Brandman that he had not operated alone.

"The editor had opened up a stream of revenue for the [phone-hacking] project, I didn't feel comfortable taking the blame," he said.

Mr Goodman said that after he was bailed he downloaded emails he said would prove others were involved in hacking.

He said he did so because he was worried he would be blamed for the activities of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed alongside him in 2007 for phone hacking.

"Lots of people at the NoW were involved - I was the one who was caught," Mr Goodman went on. "Andy Coulson actually set up the payments to facilitate all of this."

'Pretty cross'

As his evidence ended, Mr Goodman said he had felt "some pain" in giving evidence about his former editor.

He said that until his release following a four-month sentence, he had been "pretty sore, pretty cross, at the way I had been treated by someone who had been close to me - pretty cross at News International and pretty cross at the NoW".

But he said his time in prison had allowed him to "work all that stuff out".

Mr Goodman said he now harboured no ill feeling towards Mr Coulson.

The trial continues.

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