LONDON, April 16 Andy Coulson, the former media
chief to British Prime Minister David Cameron, said on Wednesday
he had been played a recording of hacked voicemail messages left
by the country's then interior minister as far back as 2004.
Coulson, who was editing Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News
of the World tabloid at the time, is on trial for conspiring to
hack into voicemail messages and paying public officials, in a
case that has shaken the British media and political
Coulson has denied all the charges but he told the Old
Bailey on Wednesday one of his senior reporters had played him
excerpts of voicemail messages left by David Blunkett on the
mobile phone of a woman with whom he was having a relationship.
"This was the first and only time voicemail messages were
played to me," Coulson said, appearing in the witness box for
the third day.
The reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, has already pleaded guilty
to conspiring to illegally tap into voicemail messages.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; writing by Kate Holton; editing
by Stephen Addison)