(Adds later evidence)
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 "burned 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, during which time 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 Brooks of conspiracy to pervert the
course of justice by concealing material from police, charges
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 assess what risk, if any, the authors posed,
the court was told.
Clegg read out some excerpts from the 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".
Last week, the trial heard how Brooks and her husband
Charlie allegedly arranged an elaborate plan to hide two bags
containing computers and other material from detectives before
they searched the couple's London apartment.
The court was told on Monday that the bags contained two
laptops, one of which had a News International tag, an iPad, a
digital voice recorder, a USB stick, as well as a number of
opened and unopened letters addressed to the couple.
There were also pills prescribed to Rebekah Brooks, a
British Kunekune Pig Society newsletter and a conker.
An inventory of the bags shown to the jury also revealed
there was a magazine titled "Lesbian Lovers" and a number of
pornographic DVDs, with titles such as "Instant Lesbian", "Bride
of Sin" and "Lesbian Psychodramas".
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)