Police searched basket of Rebekah Brooks's baby, court hears

LONDON Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:35am EST

LONDON Jan 22 (Reuters) - Detectives investigating phone-hacking allegations searched the Moses basket of Rebekah Brooks's six-week-old baby during a dawn swoop on the home of the former head of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper arm, a London court heard on Wednesday.

The Old Bailey was told 11 officers carried out a search of Brooks's home at about 5 a.m. on March 13, 2012 over suspicions that she was involved in an attempt to conceal evidence relating to phone-hacking from police.

Brooks is on trial accused of conspiracy to illegally access voicemails on mobile phones, authorising illegal payments to public officials, and conspiring to pervert the course of justice by hiding material such as computers from detectives. She denies the charges.

Under cross-examination, Detective Inspector Steve McCabe was asked why they had carried out the search so early and why this included the bed of Brooks's baby daughter Scarlett, who was born premature.

"I'm not in the business of humiliating anyone and neither are my officers," said McCabe, adding police acted without "fear or favour" and publicity was not a factor in the reason for the search.

The trial of Brooks and six others on other charges relating to the phone-hacking inquiry is due to last until May. (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)