* Cameron's ex media aide denies phone-hacking charges
* Ex-Murdoch reporter says he hacked hundreds of voicemails
* He says staff including Coulson knew what he did
By Michael Holden and Kate Holton
LONDON, Jan 28 The former media chief to British
Prime Minister David Cameron listened to a hacked voicemail
revealing an affair between two leading actors and declared it
"brilliant" when he was editor of the News of the World, a
London court heard on Tuesday.
Dan Evans, a former reporter and self-confessed prolific
phone hacker on the Rupert Murdoch tabloid, said Andy Coulson
was one of 10 senior figures on the now-defunct paper who knew
how he intercepted voicemails to generate front page stories.
Coulson, editor of the mass-selling tabloid until 2007 and
then Cameron's head of communications up to early 2011, has
denied any knowledge of phone-hacking and says he could not be
expected to know the source of every story in his paper.
Cameron faced questions over his own judgment in appointing
Coulson when the paper was shut in July 2011 and has said he
would make a "profound apology" if it turned out his former
spokesman had lied.
The 38-year-old Evans took to the stand at London's Old
Bailey court for a second day on Tuesday to detail his methods,
after he admitted conspiring to intercept voicemails.
He said that on one occasion in October 2005 he had played a
hacked recording of a voicemail to his then editor Coulson and
other senior figures on the paper which had been left by the
actress Sienna Miller for James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
"Andy came over wanting to hear the tape. I played the tape
a couple of times and they listened to it," Evans told the
court. "Andy became very animated. Brilliant."
Another journalist who was present took the reporter by the
arm and said: "You are a company man now." Evans joined the
Sunday tabloid in 2003, after being approached by News of the
World staff who, he said, wanted to exploit his phone hacking in
the fiercely competitive British tabloid market.
The voicemail revealed that Miller, then girlfriend of
another British actor, Jude Law, who gave evidence on Monday,
was having an affair with Craig.
"I heard a female voice saying 'Hi, it's me, I can't speak,
I'm at the Groucho (club) with Jude. I love you'," Evans said.
He told the jury that having heard the recording, Coulson
came up with an elaborate plan to mask how the reporters had
come across the tape.
That included having a copy of the recording made, placed
into a bag and dropped at the gates of the News Corp
site in Wapping, to be picked up by security. That would enable
the reporters to pretend it had been dropped off by an anonymous
source when it later arrived back in the newsroom.
Evans said the hacking had stopped after police arrested the
tabloid's royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator
Glenn Mulcaire in 2006.
"There was a lot of fear and anxiety, a lot of people were
preparing to cover their tracks," he told the court.
But Evans said he returned to his hacking ways in 2009 to
try to access the phone of interior designer Kelly Hoppen who
was suspected of having an affair with pop star Madonna's
ex-husband, film director Guy Ritchie.
"Curiosity killed this particular cat," he said, adding that
Hoppen had stepped up the security around her phone and was
alerted to the attempted hack. With a court order she was able
to trace the source as Evans' number.
Evans said that part of the driving force behind the hacking
had been the constant pressure to get exclusives.
"If you don't come up with a front page story you might as
well jump off a cliff," he said one senior journalist had told
him in an email.
He said his response was indeed to hack even more.
"I did everything I could to make sure I came back with a
story. I hacked every phone I could possibly think of," he said.
Evans, who admitted in court a history of recreational
drug-taking, is the fourth journalist from the News of the World
to have admitted phone-hacking charges. Coulson has pleaded not
guilty to conspiring to intercept voicemails and authorising
illegal payments to public officials.
Six others, including Rebekah Brooks, the former head of
Murdoch's British newspaper arm, are also on trial and deny all