Written by Bella Dalima
20 Feb, 2014 | 7:07 pm
Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks is giving evidence for the first time at the phone-hacking trial.Earlier, she was formally cleared of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. She denies four other charges.
The judge directed the jury to acquit her of a charge that she authorised a Sun reporter to pay for a picture of Prince William in a bikini. Brooks is one of seven defendants on trial at the Old Bailey.
Beginning her evidence, she spoke about her early career in journalism, including work experience at the Warrington Guardian at the age of 14. She said the idea of becoming a journalist “probably stemmed” from her grandmother, who wrote a poetry column for her local paper.
Her first job was at the Post, which she said proved to be a “short-lived” publication.
In April 1989, she got a job as a features researcher at the News of the World’s Sunday magazine, before being promoted to feature writer in September that year, she said.
Brooks told the court she moved to the News of the World’s features department in 1992, and became deputy features editor in 1994.
She became aware early on of the importance of having good contacts, she said. She told the court one key story in her career came when she got Paul Gascoigne to speak about domestic violence in exchange for £50,000-80,000.
Brooks said getting the footballer to speak about “such a sensitive subject” had “set out the ground work for me doing that time and time again with other high-profile people who were having difficult circumstances”.
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