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'Rival journalist messages hacked'
A news editor at the News of the World had the voicemails of other journalists hacked in a "dog-eat-dog" competition for stories, a jury has heard.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told jurors at the Old Bailey that they will have to consider how much pressure reporters at the Sunday tabloid were under to get stories amid tightening budgets.
He claimed that senior editorial staff must have known how money was being spent, including around £100,000 per year paid to Glenn Mulcaire, who has already admitted phone hacking.
Mr Edis said: " It is, of course, part of the prosecution case that a contract like that, a big contract, involves the senior management, in this case the editor, the deputy editor and the managing editor - the three defendants whom you have to try for phone hacking in addition to Mr (Ian) Edmondson - that is Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson and Stuart Kuttner."
Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire; Coulson, also 45, from Charing in Kent; former NotW head of news Edmondson, 44, from Raynes Park, south west London; and the tabloid's ex-managing editor Kuttner, 73, from Woodford Green, Essex, all deny conspiring with others to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006.
The court heard that the police investigation into phone hacking in 2011 was sparked by the discovery of three emails that News International gave to officers.
The messages, from Mulcaire to Edmondson in April 2006, are said to be about hacking phones linked to Tessa Jowell and David Mills; Lord Frederick Windsor, son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent; and an adviser to Lord Prescott.
The court was told that the NotW also hacked journalists from rival paper the Mail on Sunday to find out what information they had on a story about Lord Prescott's affair with his secretary, Tracey Temple.
"This was all about finding out how the competition were getting on with the story because, of course, you don't want to be scooped," Mr Edis said.
"One nice, easy, cheap way of finding out what they know is to hack their phone so that the competition don't get to steal a march on you.
"In the dog-eat-dog world of journalism, in a frenzy to get this huge story or try to get something better or at least as good as what everyone else has got, that's what you do, perhaps, if you are Ian Edmondson. You hack the competition."
Mr Edis said Mulcaire began hacking Lord Windsor's phone just minutes after allegedly speaking with Edmondson, adding: "He is a quick worker - you might think he is worth £100,000 a year if you know that, but not worth much at all if you don't."
He told the jury it was not a secret among NotW journalists that Mulcaire worked for the paper and he was described as working for the paper's special investigations team in a story in the Sunday red-top in August 2002.
Mr Edis told jurors: "You're going to have to form a view about how much pressure there was on journalists at the NotW to get stories, so that they strayed sometimes into crime in order to do it.
"And also how much the editor was involved in the whole process."
The jury heard that there was a clampdown on spending at the newspaper in 2001, and as part of a series of warnings staff were told there would be "the most severe consequences" if they exceeded their budgets.
Mr Edis said Brooks, Kuttner and Coulson were working together to rein in spending, and therefore must have been aware of the sums being paid to Mulcaire.
The prosecutor told the court: "That's the point which we say generates the inference that they must have known what was going on with Mr Mulcaire.
"What on earth do they think they are doing if they did not know? The money was going out of the paper. Where was it going? Did they care? Well, yes, they did."
The court heard that in August 2001, when rules about how regular contributors were paid changed, Mulcaire was a "major exception".
Jurors were told that Kuttner authorised 221 separate payments totalling £413, 527 to Mulcaire "over the years", amounting to 72% of what Mulcaire earned during that time.
Earlier the court heard a recording of "accomplished blagger" Mulcaire getting a voicemail password reset by a mobile phone company.
"He really knows how it works, he knows the right things to say, and he is quite chatty and she doesn't seem at all troubled," Mr Edis said.
Ex-NotW and Sun editor Brooks is also charged with two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office - one between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012 and the other between February 9 2006 and October 16 2008 - linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.
Fellow ex-NotW editor and former No 10 spin doctor Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office - between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003, and between January 31 and June 3 2005.
It is claimed that Goodman paid Buckingham Palace policemen for copies of royal phone directories - allegedly authorised by Coulson - to get information on members of the Royal Family.
Brooks also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, from Chelmsford in Essex, between July 6 and 9 2011; and a second with her husband, Charles Brooks, and former head of security at News International, Mark Hanna, and others between July 15 and July 19 2011.
The allegations relate to the alleged removal of Brooks' notebooks from the News International archive by Carter, and to "quite a complicated little operation'', allegedly involving Mr and Mrs Brooks and Hanna, to hide material from police investigating phone hacking.