CCTV reveals plot to hide evidence in Brooks case

Tuesday 14 January 2014 20.51
1 of 2
Rebekah Brooks denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between July 5 and 19 2011
Rebekah Brooks denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between July 5 and 19 2011
The trial heard about a flurry of phone calls and texts between Charles Brooks and security staff
The trial heard about a flurry of phone calls and texts between Charles Brooks and security staff

CCTV footage was shown at the trial of the former chief executive of News International in London today to illustrate the alleged plot to hide evidence from police on the day Rebekah Brooks was arrested.

The images centre on the underground car park at the London flat she shared with her husband Charles Brooks in Chelsea Harbour.

While Ms Brooks was in custody at Lewisham Police Station on 17 July 2011, the CCTV showed a series of comings and goings with property dropped off and picked up.

The trial also heard about a flurry of phone calls and texts between Charles Brooks, News International head of security Mark Hanna, and members of Ms Brooks' security team ahead of a police search of the flat.

Just after 12 noon, racehorse trainer Mr Brooks was captured on CCTV taking a jiffy bag and laptop into an underground car park.

He disappears behind a column and comes back into view empty-handed less than a minute later.

Mr Hanna later arrives at the car park in a black Range Rover. He picks up the laptop and bag and leaves in a blue car driven by another security worker.

Police search the flat later the same afternoon and seven police officers accompanied by Ms Brooks' solicitor are seen on CCTV leaving with large boxes at 5.04pm.

Meanwhile, police also searched Ms Brooks' Oxford address, the court heard.

Later that evening, Mr Hanna texts security guard Daryl Jorsling: "Del, have a plan. Can you call please, Mark."

An hour later, Mr Jorsling arrives at the car park, removes a black bag from the boot and moves towards the bin area, returning empty handed.

A man is then seen collecting pizza boxes and Jorsling leaves in a black Golf.

Mr Jorsling then contacts his colleague David Johnson. Referring to the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare, he texts: "Calling Danny Boy - pizza delivered and the chicken is in the pot."

Mr Johnson replies: "Ha, f****** amateurs. We should have done a DLB (dead letter box) or brush contact on the riverside. Log the hours as pizza delivery."

Rebekah Brooks leaves the police station and is seen arriving at the flat at 12.30am on 18 July, met by her husband.

It was later that morning that a cleaner collecting the large green bins in the car park finds "various pieces of property", the jury heard.

That afternoon, Charles Brooks, Rebekah Brooks' driver Paul Edwards and Mr Jorsling go back to the car park and appear to search the bin area before heading off to the building's office empty-handed.

That evening, police were handed a brown briefcase and black laptop bag, which had been found behind the bins, the court was told.

Charles Brooks, 50, with his wife, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and head of security Mark Hanna, 50, of Glynswood Road, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between July 5 and 19 2011.

All seven defendants in the trial, including Cheryl Carter, Mark Hanna, Stuart Kuttner, Andrew Coulson and Clive Goodman deny all the charges.

The court heard the incident of the missing bag at Chelsea Harbour was dubbed "Pizzagate" by security staff.

Witness William Geddes was managing director of the security firm that led the 24-hour Blackhawk operation around Ms Brooks.

On 18 July, the day after Ms Brooks's arrest, it came to Mr Geddes's attention that property, then described as belonging to Charles Brooks, which was delivered by a security guard to the Chelsea Harbour flat, had gone missing.

After the security team were alerted to the missing property, a search was launched.

Asked by Mr Hanna's lawyer William Clegg QC what Pizzagate referred to, Mr Geddes said: "Pizzagate was the term the team came up with for the fact the errands they had run not only included returning a bag but also a pizza."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.