Former tabloid reporter Dan Evans was "a rather risky hacker" who "wanted to get caught" when he was writing high profile stories about the break-up of actors Sienna Miller and Jude Law, a court heard.
Timothy Langdale QC, defence lawyer for former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and who was cross-examining Evans at the Old Bailey, said: "You seem to be a rather risky hacker at this time."
Evans replied: "You might even say in a weird way that I wanted to get caught."
Evans threw doubt that a hacked call on designer Kelly Hoppen's voicemail was a "tearful" message from Miller, her step-daughter, saying it may have been from her sister.
He told the hacking trial: "I have a nagging doubt that it was not Sienna." He suggested it may have been from her sister Natasha.
" I don't actually remember the voicemail. I remember what I took from it and what I drafted from it," Evans said.
He noted there had been "Sienna Miller-based" information from it, felt she was upset and getting support from her family.
Langdale took Evans to a police interview in September 2013 where "the inside stuff" which included "Sienna leaving a tearful message" was mentioned.
Evans, 38, who has already admitted his part in hacking in to the voicemails of celebrities, told the court: " I cannot be 100 percent. I do not have perfect recall about everything that happened. I do not want to mislead."
He later claimed that the reference in a July 2005 story of Miller being tearful had been "inspired" by the information he had gleaned.
Evans described the quotes in his story about Miller's family offering her tea and sympathy as just "tabloid fluff – it is not supposed to be forensic stuff".
When asked about the quotes in the article, Evans said: "Whether or not it actually happened? I wasn't a fly on the wall in the room with the people."
Evans also said the colleague who would ask him about "special checks", which he said meant voicemail interception, was sometimes "blase and naive".
Evans told the trial: "I was routinely hacking Daniel Craig's phone from my Sunday Mirror days."
He said he got a story about supermodel Kate Moss from dialling directly into the actor's voicemail messages.
He described the activity as "a course of conduct – it was not a fluke".
Being able to dial directly into Craig's voicemail was an exception, according to Evans. "I do not remember anyone else you could get into a direct voicemail," he told the court.
Evans recalled one message to the jury, saying: "The message was along the lines of, 'Hey it's me. I'm at the Groucho with Jude. I love you'. It was a short message."
The call lasted about 10 or 15 seconds, "maybe even less", according to Evans.
There were tense exchanges in court as Langdale suggested Ms Miller did not have the number Evans said was hacked until a month later.
After the judge stepped in to calm the atmosphere, Evans hit back: "It happened. There is no two ways about it."
Evans said he did not remember hacking Miller's phone and added: "I do not recall doing it but I may well have done."
After picking up Miller's voicemail message, it was "all hands to the pump" to get the story of an alleged Miller/Law/Craig love triangle, the court heard.
Evans said the message was played in the office and Coulson was among those who listened to it.
Langdale claimed this could not be true because Coulson was not at work or even in London that day.
Evans insisted that Coulson definitely heard the tape but said that maybe his recollection of which actual day this was on was "flawed".
"These events happened a long time ago and there are salient things in my mind about what I did," Evans told the court.
"I am not here to make things up like I listened to Daniel Craig's voicemail. Why would I bother? This is not a fun experience for me.
"I had the guy's phone. I taped a message."
Evans claims that he played the tape in the office within the potential earshot of other journalists and that Coulson was among those who listened it.
"Certainly there was an understanding that this was illegal. This is dodgy," he said and "we are all in it together ".
Langdale suggested there was "not a word of truth" in Evans' claim that Coulson ordered that a copy be made and put in a jiffy bag.
Considering the risks of newsroom leaks, it was unlikely that Coulson would have so "openly" made such an order, according to Langdale.
Evans replied: "He would have felt safe in that environment. It is not shocking that it happened."
Evans, who said he probably gave the tape a "rub down with my shirt to get rid of any fingerprints", added: "The guy was my boss – what he said went."
Evans said he believed there was a safe in Coulson's office "where all sorts of stories were buried".
He told the court that he never saw a safe in the office, which was confirmed by Langdale, but added: "I was told there was a safe."
The former News of the World employee was eventually caught out trying to hack into Hoppen's voicemail and then lied to police with the excuse his Nokia phone had "sticky keys," the court has heard.
Evans has already admitted conspiracy to hack phones at the Sunday Mirror between February 2003 and January 2005, and the same offence at the News of the World between April 2004 and June 2010.
He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between January 2008 and June 2010, and perverting the course of justice by giving a false statement in High Court proceedings.
Coulson, 46, of Kent, former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, 45, of Oxfordshire, and former NotW managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, of Woodford Green, Essex, deny conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006.
Coulson also denies two counts of conspiring with former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, of Surrey, and others to commit misconduct in a public office.
All seven defendants in the case deny the charges against them.
The trial continues.