LONDON Jan 20 The former head of security at
Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper arm told a colleague on the
day the News of the World tabloid was closed down over a
phone-hacking scandal he had dug a hole and "burnt stuff", a
London court heard on Monday.
Murdoch shut the News of the World in July 2011 at the
height of public outrage that journalists on the paper had
hacked voicemail messages of mobile phones, including that of a
Seven people including Rebekah Brooks, the former chief
executive of News International, Murdoch's British newspaper
arm, are on trial for a variety of offences stemming from police
investigations into phone-hacking.
The Old Bailey heard that after the final edition of the
News of the World had gone to press and the staff had left on
July 9, Mark Hanna, then head of security at News International
went for drink with one of his security team, Robert Hernandez.
Hernandez told the court they spent about two hours in a pub
near the offices, with Hanna drinking a bottle of wine by
During their time in the pub, Hanna talked about how he had
provided protection for Brooks, whom he described as kind and a
good boss, before going on to discuss the closure of the News of
the World for another 10 to 15 minutes.
"He mentioned one time he dug a hole in his garden and burnt
stuff," Hernandez said. "I asked him if it was papers. He didn't
Hanna is accused with Rebekah Brooks of conspiracy to
pervert the course of justice by concealing material from
police, charges they deny.
Under questioning from Hanna's lawyer William Clegg,
Hernandez agreed they had talked about lots of different
"It was a fire in his garden, we know not when and we know
not what," Clegg put to him.
"That's correct," Hernandez replied. "For all I know he
could have been burning bank statements."
Another witness Glen Jagger, the security operations manager
for News International, said bosses had received "quite a bit"
of hate mail at the time, and there had been actual threats made
to executives including Brooks.
Some of this hate mail was discovered at Hanna's home where
he had taken it to asses what risk if any the authors posed, the
court was told.
Clegg read out some excerpts from the "disgusting" hate mail
which included phrases such as "rotting in hell would be too
good a punishment", while another said "the universal law of
karma will exact its revenge".
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)