* Ex-reporter says he was prolific hacker
* Worked on Murdoch and Trinity Mirror paper
* First Mirror journalist to admit hacking
* Accessed more than a thousand voicemails, court hears
By Michael Holden
LONDON, Jan 27 A former journalist on Rupert
Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid and its rival
Sunday Mirror has admitted conspiring to hack into hundreds of
phones to get exclusive stories about celebrities.
Daniel Evans told London's Old Bailey Court on Monday he had
been a prolific phone-hacker and that Andy Coulson, one of
Murdoch's ex-editors and later Prime Minister David Cameron's
media chief, had known what he did before employing him.
He is the fourth former journalist from the News of the
World to have admitted conspiracy to hack phones, but the first
from the rival Sunday Mirror title.
Giving evidence at the trial of Coulson and another
ex-Murdoch editor, Rebekah Brooks, on charges of conspiracy to
hack phones, Evans confirmed he had pleaded guilty last
September to the same charge.
He also confirmed he had admitted conspiracy to commit
misconduct in a public office, intending to pervert the course
of justice and that he had entered into an agreement with
prosecutors last August.
Legal restrictions have meant his plea could not be reported
until now, and shares in Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror closed
down almost 4 percent.
Evans' dramatic testimony came after British film star Jude
Law appeared in the witness box and told the court the press
seemed to know an "unhealthy amount" about his private life.
Evans, 38, told a hushed courtroom he had hacked into the
phones of celebrities, having been shown the trick by a figure
at the Sunday Mirror tabloid where he got a staff job in 2003.
Asked what his role had entailed, he told the court:
"Principally I was tasked with newsgathering ... and latterly
with hacking people's voicemails."
In 2005, a former colleague who knew of his hacking skills,
James Weatherup, offered him a job at the now-defunct News of
the World. Initially he declined, telling the court he did not
want to be Weatherup's "pet phone-hacker".
A few months later, another journalist from the News of the
World who also was aware of Evans' "dark art" skills approached
him about a job, and he told the court he had met up with him
and Coulson at a hotel in central London.
Evans said when he told Coulson he could use phones to bring
in exclusive stories cheaply, it was the "Ker-Ching moment".
"Andy knew what the context of it was," he told the jury.
Weatherup has already admitted conspiracy to hack phones,
the court has heard. Coulson has denied all knowledge.
HACKING MOST DAYS
The trial of two of the most high profile editors in British
history began in October and is likely to run until May. The
allegation that journalists had hacked into thousands of phones
to generate stories, and the subsequent closure of the tabloid,
sent shockwaves through the industry.
Evans, who gave evidence for over two hours and who will
return on Tuesday, said he moved across to Murdoch's rival
Sunday tabloid with an extensive list of numbers and details he
used to hack the phones of celebrities and their publicists.
On his first day at the News of the World, he was given a
list of names and tasked with hacking those he thought would be
Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis if he had hacked many names
on a list, Evans replied: "I did, yeah", adding he had targeted
about a couple of hundred people, making more than a thousand
calls to their voicemails.
When asked how often he did it, he said: "Probably most
days." He later said he had probably hacked more phones while
working at the Sunday Mirror.
Trinity Mirror said in a statement on Monday: "We do not
tolerate wrongdoing within our business and take any allegations
seriously. It is too soon to know how this matter will progress
and further updates will be made if there are any significant
Coulson, who went on to become Cameron's media spokesman
before quitting in 2011, and Brooks, who later ran News Corp.'s
British newspaper arm News International, are on trial
accused of conspiring to illegally intercept voicemail messages
on mobile phones.
Brooks and Coulson are also accused of authorising illegal
payments to public officials while Brooks faces charges of
perverting the course of justice by attempting to conceal
evidence from police.
Brooks, Coulson, and five others on trial deny all the