Clive Goodman: Coulson would have 'smelled a rat' if I'd tried to tape him admitting to phone-hacking

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson would have "smelled a rat" if a journalist caught phone-hacking had tried to catch him on tape admitting he was "up to his armpits too", jurors heard today.

Former royal editor Clive Goodman (pictured: Reuters) told the Old Bailey hacking trial he made recordings and notes of conversations in the weeks after his arrest for hacking in 2006 because he was suspicious his old boss was "manipulating" him into taking all the blame.

But he never tried to get Coulson to admit his involvement on tape because Coulson gave him "slender" hope he could come back to the paper, he told jurors.

The 56-year-old was being cross examined by Coulson's lawyer, Timothy Langdale QC, about a series of discussions in the months before he pleaded guilty with private detective Glenn Mulcaire.

On his feelings following his arrest on August 8, Goodman said: "I felt I was being manipulated by Coulson into taking the full blame for hacking at the News of the World. It turned out to be the case at the time.

"I felt the promises they were making to me were not genuine. I felt they were interfering with my legal case and I felt I could not trust them and I felt I needed some protection."

But in the days after his arrest, he said: "I was trying to hang on to a career and he was holding that one slender hope I might be able to come back."

Langdale asked why he did not try to get Coulson to admit his involvement on tape in a later phone conversation in November that year.

Goodman replied: "Andy Coulson is an editor, a journalist of some 20, 30 years, had we had a conversation like this – 'by the way you were up to your armpits too' – he would have smelled a rat.

"That would have been the end of the conversation, the end of my legal representation, the end of my career."

Goodman, of Addlestone, Surrey, is on trial at the Old Bailey for allegedly conspiring with Coulson to commit misconduct in public office.

Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and Stuart Kuttner are accused of conspiring to hack phones. All seven defendants deny the charges against them.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC later questioned Goodman's evidence that he exaggerated the importance of his contacts saying they were serving policemen, when they were not, to ensure that they were paid.

He asked why Goodman would have told his colleagues the sources for royal phone books were officers if they were not just that, adding: "Did anybody ever say to you, just a minute, we don't pay police officers?"

Goodman replied: "No," before adding: "I'm not sure I would have thought it through in that detail."

Edis pressed: "You are telling a lie to the bosses about sources."

Goodman replied: "Exaggerating."

Edis said: "Lies – what's wrong with that word for doing what you are saying?"

The lawyer went on to ask Goodman about his sources known as Farish and Anderson who were paid in cash. Goodman said the Anderson source was a journalist but he refused to reveal his real name.

Edis asserted: "You knew the names of these people you are dealing with."

Goodman replied: "Not in these circumstances. These are people who are very worried about doing business with the News of the World for one reason or other which is why they wanted to be paid in cash. They would ring up on all sorts of stories."

Edis pressed: "What did they say? 'Hi, it's Anderson here?' "

Goodman said: "They would say 'Hi, it's me'."

Edis suggested Goodman must have had their names in his mobile phone so he knew who was ringing. But Goodman said he did not tend to input names into his phone.

The lawyer quizzed the witness about a story he said must have come from a police officer about the alarm system at St James's palace being so old it had to be tested with a broom handle.

But Goodman said: "No, it did not come from a police officer. These palaces are like little villages. Everybody talks to everybody. Everybody gossips. Anything exciting happens at the palace it's gossiped about. This stuff gets around."

Edis moved on to a story about Prince Harry having injuries, which came from Glenn Muclaire hacking in January 2005.

Goodman said Mulcaire in Cheam would have been paid cash via News of the World colleague Greg Miskiw, who was in Manchester at the time.

Justifying the circuitous route the £700 payment took, Goodman said: "I once carried £60,000 by plane and car to Scotland for a series of stories.

"It's a strange world and strange things happen."

Mr Justice Saunders said: "I think we can all agree to that."

Edis questioned whether by the time of the Prince Harry story, Goodman knew Mulcaire was phone-hacking.

Goodman replied: "I think I knew phone-hacking was going on at the time and Glenn Mulcaire was involved in phone-hacking."

Pressed if that meant he did know, Goodman said: "That's a maybe but it was a long time ago."

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