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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Former NotW editor Andy Coulson guilty of conspiring to hack phones

Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all charges

Emily Pennink

Published 24/06/2014 | 12:02

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Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at the Old Bailey as the phone hacking trial continues in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 11, 2014. See PA story COURTS Hacking. Photo credit should read: Justin Tallis/PA Wire
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at the Old Bailey
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson arrives at the Old Bailey as the phone hacking trial continues in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 11, 2014. See PA story COURTS Hacking. Photo credit should read: Justin Tallis/PA Wire
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson arrives at the Old Bailey

Former No 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson has been found guilty of plotting to hack phones while he was editor of the News of the World.

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Coulson, who was forced to resign as Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications over the scandal, now faces the possibility of jail following the high-profile trial at the Old Bailey.

But the jury of eight women and three men cleared ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks of all charges.

Brooks was overcome by emotion on hearing the verdicts and was taken away by the court matron.

Retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also cleared of being part of a conspiracy dating back to 2000 and spanning six years.

Brooks's former personal assistant Cheryl Carter was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Brooks's husband Charlie and NI director of security Mark Hanna were also cleared of perverting the course of justice.

But the jury, which has been considering verdicts since Wednesday, June 11, is still considering further charges against Coulson and former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office by paying police officers for two royal directories.

The partial verdicts were delivered on the jury's eighth day of deliberations and the 138th day of the trial.

Ex-No 10 spin doctor Coulson, 46, of Charing, Kent; had denied all the charges as had Goodman, 56, of Addlestone, Surrey.

Brooks, 46, was cleared of hacking, misconduct in a public office for allegedly signing off payments to a Sun journalist's "number one military contact" between 2004 and 2012, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice.

Carter, 50, of Chelmsford, Essex, was cleared of perverting the course of justice by removing seven boxes from the NI archive just days before she was arrested in 2011.

Racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, 52, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Hanna, 51, were cleared of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011.

Mrs Brooks, dressed in a white blouse, appeared to hold the hand of Ms Carter as she was cleared.

The pair looked at each other supportingly in the dock after the not guilty verdict against Ms Carter was given to the court.

On Mrs Brooks other side was her husband Charlie, who stood with his hands folded in front of him as he was cleared. His wife brushed him comfortingly as the verdict was given, while he stood staring straight ahead.

Coulson, dressed in a dark suit, showed no immediate reaction to the guilty verdict, standing with his hands behind his back and clenching his jaw while looking forward.

A few moments later he took a deep breath in and out.

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