Monday 19 February 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Brooks seems unlikely to spare her friends

STANDING outside the offices of his wife's solicitors last Tuesday, racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks said of the serious charges made against him, Rebekah Brooks and others: "I feel today is an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which is to ratchet up the pressure on my wife, who I believe is the subject of a witch hunt."

It was a rather unfortunate choice of words, for the malicious have a tendency to refer to Rebekah as a witch, because of her distinctively flowing red ringlets and famed ability to cast spells on the rich, famous and influential. She is of humble origins and started out without useful connections, but as a friend from schooldays put it: "She's always been able to get what she wants out of people, even if they don't really like her."

Rupert Murdoch regarded Rebekah as a daughter, made her editor of the News of the World when she was 32, then elevated her to the Sun and finally to chief executive of News International. Her first husband was Ross Kemp, famous for playing a hard man in EastEnders; her second is a rich Old Etonian who likes to fly with her to Venice for lunch.

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