Court told Britain's Queen Elizabeth irritated by police eating nuts

Thursday 12 December 2013 23.55
Queen Elizabeth 'started marking the bowls [of nuts] to see when the levels dipped'
Queen Elizabeth 'started marking the bowls [of nuts] to see when the levels dipped'

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was so "irritated" about police officers eating nuts left out at Buckingham Palace that she marked bowls to record the levels that were being taken, the phone-hacking trial has heard.

She was "upset" by officers eating the snacks.

It prompted a memo to palace officers, telling them to "keep their sticky fingers out", according to an email sent by Clive Goodman, former royal editor at the News of the World.

In the email to the tabloid's former editor Andy Coulson, Mr Goodman wrote: "Problem is that police on patrol eat the lot... memo now gone around to all palace cops telling them to keep their sticky fingers out."

Staff had put out a selection of nuts including cashews, almonds and Bombay mix around the palace, according to the email from March 2005.

"Queen so narked she has started marking the bowls to see when the levels dipped," Mr Goodman added.

Mr Goodman, 56, from Addlestone, Surrey, is charged along with former spin doctor Mr Coulson, 45, from Charing, Kent,  with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

The jury was told today that another defendant, former NotW news editor Ian Edmondson, is "currently unfit" and will take no further part in the trial.

Mr Edmondson, who is charged with conspiring to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006 while working at the now-defunct Sunday newspaper, will be tried by a different jury at a later date, Mr Justice Saunders ruled.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the jury that the queen was "upset" about the behaviour of the officers, according to Mr Goodman's email.

"Apparently they were helping themselves to nuts," the barrister said.

"They were all being scoffed by police. That irritated her majesty apparently."

Amid laughter in court, Mr Saunders joked that the claim that officers were stealing nuts was "an unproven allegation".

Mr Goodman and Mr Coulson face two allegations that they conspired together and with other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003, and between 31 January 2005 and 3 June 2005.

Mr Coulson is also accused of conspiring to hack phones between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006.

That charge is also faced by former NotW and Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, of Woodford Green, Essex.

Ms Brooks also faces two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office - one between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012, and the other between 9 February 2006 and 16 October 2008 - linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.

She also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, of Chelmsford, Essex, between 6 and 9 July 2011, and a second with her husband, Charles Brooks, and former News International head of security Mark Hanna and others between 15 July and 19 July 2011.