'Blackhawk' Brooks ordered bug sweep of her office, court told

Rebekah Brooks asked for her office to be "discreetly" swept for bugs, the hacking trial heard today.

In January 2011, months before the closure of the News of the World and her resignation as chief executive of News International, Brooks emailed a request copying in former head of security and co-defendant Mark Hanna.

It read: "Can you have my office swept… thanks. Discreetly."

News International offices were routinely searched for listening devices to ensure rival journalists could not find out about scoops and to keep private any discussions about the BSkyB bid, Jane Viner, NI group director for property and facilities, confirmed.

Brooks had been sent "threatening mail" during 2011 as hacking allegations emerged, she also told the Old Bailey trial.

Abusive mail was usually intercepted in the post room and, if it got through the first check, it would be picked up by personal assistants, she said.

The court heard that, at the time, security around key executives had been stepped up.

Brooks was codenamed Blackhawk by News International security. 

Later, the jury was shown CCTV footage from the Brooks' London home in Chelsea Harbour.

Shortly after Rebekah Brooks was arrested by police, her husband is seen entering the building and then exiting an underground car park holding a jiffy bag and a laptop.

Within a minute, he returns to the building empty handed.

Former News of the World and Sun editor Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Hanna deny a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

All seven defendants in the case, including Brooks' husband Charles Brooks, Cheryl Carter, Stuart Kuttner, Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson, deny all the charges.

The trial was adjourned into 10am tomorrow when a police officer in the case will give evidence.

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