Saturday 16 December 2017

Jude Law's PR performed 'character assassination' on Sienna Miller following Daniel Craig affair, reporter tells hacking trial

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Emily Pennink

A former News of the World reporter has described listening to the voicemails of James Bond actor Daniel Craig, uncovering his alleged affair with fellow Layer Cake cast member Sienna Miller.

Craig was one of a host of celebrities Dan Evans targeted after he joined the newspaper from the Sunday Mirror in 2005, also including Sol Campbell, Rolf Harris, Kelly Hoppen, Jade Goody and Steven Gerrard's agent, the hacking trial heard.

He said then-editor Andy Coulson knew about the hacking and had even given directions to Evans about how to hide the information from Craig's voicemail, by making it appear as if a tape of it had been handed in anonymously.

Before the Sienna story broke, Evans told the Old Bailey trial how he had been bullied to come up with front page stories.

"It happened a number of times. The time we are talking about was a pretty unhappy one for me. I was bullied at work, having quite a hard time.

"I remember being monstered by (NotW journalist). He sent me an email saying 'If you do not come up with a front page story you might as well jump off a cliff'."

He recalled receiving "shouting emails" written entirely in capital letters from a senior employee who was "very intimidating and scary", adding: "I was in fear of my job."

He set to work, hacking into Craig's voicemail, he said: "I heard a female voice saying 'Hi, it's me. Cannot speak, I'm at the Groucho with Jude'."

He checked the number on his database and found it was Sienna Miller's, he said.

"I went to work on Tuesday wagging my tail and I told (NotW journalist), did you know Sienna Miller is having an affair with Daniel Craig?" Evans said.

He put together a story to show then-editor Coulson. Another NotW journalist was onto the same story, providing corroboration for it, he said.

Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC what the response was to the Sienna story, he said: "They said 'good work'. (NotW journalist) said to me 'You are a company man now'."

Evans said he was told by Coulson to make a copy of his recorded voicemail message, put it in a Jiffy bag and take it to reception so it would look like it had been dropped off anonymously.

Then another NotW journalist picked it up with "mock surprise" saying "look what I've found", Evans said.

Next, Evans knocked on Craig's door to confront him about the story, and the actor said: "No, no, no it's not true", the court heard.

Because of the denial, the story was held over for the following week, during which time, Law's people were approached about the story.

At this point, Evans broke off to address the court, saying: "I would like to apologise to all involved."

After Law had been alerted, Evans listened into another voicemail to Craig this time from Law saying: 'Thanks, mate. I hope Saski (his then-girlfriend Satsuki Mitchell) doesn't find out.'

The story was run past Law's public relations executive who "approved" it and it ran in the NotW the following week in October 2005, Evans told the court.

Evans described to the court Law's reaction to his then-girlfriend's affair with his friend Craig.

He said: "Jude was obviously bouncing with anger about it. The PR performed a character assassination on Sienna. The story was run past the PR in its entirety. She approved it, and Jude approved the story to go in. He was obviously very unhappy at the time."

Evans's byline was the last of three on the Sienna story, prompting a NotW executive to send a message highlighting his worth, with reference to Gerrard's agent Struan Marshall, and Jade Goody.

He said: "The Steven Gerrard reference is in reference to an intercepted voicemail about his wife expecting a new baby."

Asked by Mr Edis who knew about hacking from Evans's direct personal knowledge and experience, the witness gave 10 names of NotW staff, including Coulson.

He also told the court more about his own hacking activities, including picking up a story from Craig's voicemail about actress Eva Green being a new Bond girl, and a story about footballer Sol Campbell and designer Kelly Hoppen. He also admitted hacking the voicemail of Shane Richie and Jenson Button.

Evans was shown emails from October 2005 about efforts to "get to work on Rolf Harris".

One email from a NotW journalist read "sometimes I think we are dazzled by shady stuff" rather than obvious journalist checks.

Evans said he had made various checks because the rumour was of "marital strife".

After Evans was caught out hacking Ms Hoppen's phone, he was suspended and put on paid gardening leave, he said.

Evans was made redundant when the NotW closed down in July 2011 and received the same payout as everyone else, he said.

Asked by Mr Edis about any other criminal activity in his past, Evans said he had been "busted" for having amphetamines as a student and later for cocaine.

He said: "Recreational drugs played a part in my life since mid-late teens."

However, he had now been clean of drugs and alcohol for a "period of time", he told the court.

The court heard that Evans has already admitted conspiracy to hack phones at the Sunday Mirror between February 2003 and January 2005, and the same offence at the News of the World between April 2004 and June 2010.

He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between January 2008 and June 2010, and perverting the course of justice by giving a false statement in High Court proceedings.

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, 46, a PR consultant of Charing, Kent, denies conspiring to hack phones and conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.

All seven defendants in the case, including former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, deny all the charges against them.

Yesterday, Law gave evidence to the trial for more than an hour.

He told the jury there was an "unhealthy" amount of press interest in his private life.

He also learned for the first time an allegation that an immediate family member had sold information about him to the News of the World.

The jury were sent home and the trial adjourned until 10am tomorrow.

Press Association

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