Saturday 3 December 2016

Ruth Dudley Edwards: How NOTW became the red-top story of the year

From Sven-Goran Eriksson's sex life to the tragedy of Millie Dowler, the scandal has gripped us all, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 10/11/2013 | 01:00

Hacking trial: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie at the Old Bailey in London last Thursday on various charges related to hacking, illegal payments to officials and hindering police investigations
Hacking trial: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie at the Old Bailey in London last Thursday on various charges related to hacking, illegal payments to officials and hindering police investigations

Say what you like about Rebekah Brooks, and people do, she was an immensely industrious woman in both her professional and private life.

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According to the prosecution at the News of the World (NOTW) hacking trial, in April 2002, when she was editor, she was constantly in touch with the office from a seven-star hotel in Dubai where she was with her long-time fiancee, the actor Ross Kemp, on a holiday said to have been arranged by her deputy (and, we are told, lover), Andy Coulson.

A witness who spent a few evenings with the couple claimed she was on the phone 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the time, and that she'd explained "it was to do with the missing Surrey schoolgirl". This was the unfortunate 13-year-old Millie Dowler, who had been abducted the previous month and – we would learn years later – had been murdered by a serial killer.

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