Saturday 20 December 2014

Former NOTW reporter tells trial he turned to drink and drugs to 'self-medicate' the stress of phone hacking

Published 29/01/2014 | 16:01

Daniel Evans, former journalist at News of The World and Sunday Mirror, leaves the Old Bailey courthouse after giving evidence in London January 27, 2014.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: MEDIA CRIME LAW POLITICS)
Daniel Evans, former journalist at News of The World and Sunday Mirror, leaves the Old Bailey courthouse after giving evidence in London January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: MEDIA CRIME LAW POLITICS)
Daniel Evans, former journalist at News of The World and Sunday Mirror, leaves the Old Bailey courthouse after giving evidence in London January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: MEDIA CRIME LAW POLITICS)
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson
Former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson

A former News of the World reporter has told how he turned to drink and drugs to "self-medicate" the stress of phone hacking.

Dan Evans told the hacking trial at the Old Bailey that it started while he was at the Sunday Mirror and continued after he joined the NotW in 2005.

"I was self-medicating. I was depressed, not happy and not coping. It is not uncommon to deal with stress in different ways. For me the initial release was having a drink after work."

On the link with hacking, he said: "The secret made me unhappy. Carrying an enormous secret and delving into the lives of people who did not deserve it made me unhappy."

Evans, who said he had been in therapy for the last year and a half, said he joined the NotW for the opportunity to run his own investigations unit.

He recalled: "I wanted to start afresh and do something on my own terms," adding: "I was out of the frying pan into the fire but I was pretty young. I made mistakes."

Asked by former NotW editor Andy Coulson's barrister, Timothy Langdale, QC, if he was hired by the NotW for his hacking abilities, he said: "You could say that," but added that he was not defined by the single act alone.

Asked by Mr Langdale why he did not just leave the NotW if he was so unhappy, Evans said: "I didn't want to be turned away with my tail between my legs. I wanted to be a success at it. I became a father. I was too worried about money. (A senior NotW journalist) knocked my confidence pretty hard."

Mr Langdale suggested there was nothing to stop him leaving, but Evans said: "There's nothing to stop me jumping off a bridge but I didn't do that."

Evans insisted hacking was an "open secret" in the office.

"I was conscious that what I was doing was wrong. It was widely known, it was widely held this was going on.

"Other reporters asked me to do things on their behalf, usually at the behest of the desk."

Pressed on the subject again, he repeated: "I did not broadcast it because that would have been crass but everybody knew."

Raising his voice slightly, Evans said: "The truth is that Andy Coulson knew exactly what was going on on his watch."

At the moment of Evans's declaration about Coulson, the defendant and witness stared at each other across the courtroom.

Evans was caught because he used his own phone for hacking, the court heard.

Asked why he did not raise the question of security amid the pressure to keep expenses down, he said: "There is a part of me that's thinking 'you don't want to be careful, why should I be careful either'?"

Press Association

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