Coulson confronted David Blunkett over affair in the Home Secretary's office

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson confronted then Home Secretary David Blunkett that he was having an affair with a married woman, the phone-hacking trial has heard.

Continuing his opening statement, Andrew Edis for the defence said the News of the World discovered details of the affair by intercepting phone messages.

Coulson, who was editor of the News of the World at the time, met with Blunkett in the Home Secretary’s office who recorded the meeting.

During the meeting, Coulson refused to tell Blunkett how the paper uncovered the affair.

Coulson told Blunkett that the Home Secretary having an affair with a married woman warranted publication.

According to the tape, which was played to the jury of nine women and three men, Coulson said: “Someone else won’t be as fair. What I’m prepared to do is run this story and keep Kimberley’s name out of it.”

Coulson told Blunkett that he does not want to destroy anyone’s life, however it was an extreme set of circumstances.

Despite refusing to say where the information came from, Coulson said that he was “confident” of his sources.

Edis told the jury that Coulson’s News of the World did not name Kimberly Quinn. The next morning, The Sun (then edited by Rebekak Brooks) named the woman and the following day revealed Quinn was pregnant after hacking another voicemail message. The message was from a clinic reminding Quinn that she should come in for a scan.

Edis asked the court: “How did the two editors know these facts to be true?

“Hacked voicemails,” he answered.

Edis said there is evidence to show extensive contact between Brooks and Coulson between the News of the World story detailing the affair and the following day’s Sun naming Kimberly Quinn.

He continued: “We know all this because of tapes recovered from the safe of News International lawyers”

Edis said it was “absolutely inconceivable they would publish a story about a serving cabinet minister unless they knew it was true. And the reason they knew it was true is thanks to phone-hacking.”

All the defendants deny all charges.

The trial continues.

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