Glasgow & West Scotland

Clive Goodman denies grudge against Andy Coulson

A journalist convicted of phone hacking has denied holding a grudge against his former editor Andy Coulson, who is standing trial on a charge of perjury.

Former News of the World Royal editor Clive Goodman rejected claims he lied and exaggerated while giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He again repeated a claim that Mr Coulson had sanctioned phone hacking.

Mr Coulson, 47, denies lying while giving evidence at the 2010 perjury trial of Tommy Sheridan in Glasgow.

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Mr Goodman was giving evidence for a third day, where he was cross-examined by Mr Coulson's lawyer Murdo Macleod QC.

The jury was shown police documents showing that Mr Goodman had hacked voicemail messages of young members of the Royal Family, including one of Kate Middleton on Christmas Day 2005.

Mr Goodman said he was trying to find out if Prince William had left a message.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Former News of the World Royal Editor Clive Goodman is giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh

Mr Goodman agreed that he felt his position at the paper was "under threat" and that he was "under pressure" to bring in more stories.

He said he went to Mr Coulson at the end of October 2005 with a proposal from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who had suggested that for £500 per week Mr Goodman could provide names of people around the Royal Family and he would "monitor their phones".

Mr Goodman denied that he had misled Mr Coulson because he had not told the editor that he had, by this point, been hacking phones himself.

He said: "I thought he didn't need to know. I didn't lie to Mr Coulson, I just didn't tell him where the information was coming from.

'New source'

"I certainly didn't tell him I was hacking at that stage."

Mr Macleod said: "The truth is Mr Goodman you never mentioned hacking to Mr Coulson at all did you?"

"That's untrue," the witness replied.

Mr Macleod continued: "What you told him was that you had a new source who you wanted to put on a retainer who would help you get stories on the younger royals."

"Not true," Mr Goodman responded. He added: "The project would never have got off the ground without Mr Coulson."

He denied a suggestion from Mr Macleod that he was "willing to tell lies or exaggerate at a drop of a hat".

Mr Macleod asked him: "Would you say you are someone who bears grudges?"

He replied: "No. I think if I had an injustice done to me I will challenge it."

"Do you have a grudge against Andy Coulson?", Mr Macleod asked.

"Now? No. Never have," the witness replied.

Mr Macleod earlier showed the court an email Mr Goodman had sent to his sister, who also worked at the paper, in which he had forwarded an email sent from the assistant managing editor to the news editor questioning why "virtually all" Mr Goodman's payment requests for his column were in cash.

'Very angry'

Mr Goodman had written: "Have a look at the email... I feel like ripping his face right off his skull."

Asked about his words by Mr Macleod, he said: "I was very cross...very angry. My sister was like my safety valve for letting off steam."

He later added: "It was a moment of anger."

The court then saw an email Mr Goodman sent to his sister in February 2005 describing how he had an "unpleasant conversation with Andy" and how he had to swallow his anger, to "forget all about the knife-hand-throat-strike that would have pushed his larynx out the back of his neck".

In response, Mr Goodman told the court: "It was clearly exaggerated. It's simply hyperbole. There's no physical aggression, no threat of physical aggression. It's a turn of phrase."

During re-examination of the witness, advocate depute Richard Goddard, prosecuting, asked him about the suggestion put to him that he bore an "appalling grudge" against Coulson.

"I have no grudge against Andy, it's a matter of bitter regret I am here giving evidence against him," he replied.

The charge against Mr Coulson alleges that he lied in court when he appeared as a witness at Mr Sheridan's perjury trial and that before August 2006 he did know about phone hacking, did know or know of a private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and did know about payments by the newspaper to corrupt police officers.

The trial before Lord Burns continues.

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