Prince Harry had phone hacked for Murdoch tabloid, court told

Prince Harry, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and Prince William who were tracked using phone hacking, a London court heard. /

LONDON -- Prince Harry was phone-hacked by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, a London court heard Friday.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis told the jury that intercepting voice mails of the young royal produced a string of exclusives, before showing the jurors a 2006 email from the newspaper's former royal editor Clive Goodman to then-editor Andy Coulson.

Goodman sent the message to complain about the newspaper's management stopping extra fees for private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for royal stories, Edis said.

“We were five minutes away from catching Kate and William together last Saturday when he should have been training,” Goodman wrote in the email the prosecutor showed jurors. Goodman's email went on to identify a series of other stories he says were obtained by Mulcaire's hacking including “William shot in ambush” and “Royal cops search flat.”

Edis told the jury that the email was found on the system of News of the World's parent company News International, now News UK.

He also drew attention to a story from December 2005 about Prince Harry asking for help with his exams, headlined, "Harry aide helps out on Sandhurst exams."

“That story got into the paper and it was based directly on voice mails,” he said.

Earlier in the trial, the prosecutor told the jurors Mulcaire, the private investigator, had admitted that he hacked into cellphone voice mails for the tabloid and was paid around 100,000 pounds ($161,000) a year by the paper. He was jailed for six months in 2007 after he was found guilty of illegally intercepting phone messages.

Edis told jurors Goodman, the royal editor, was also jailed for four months after pleading guilty to the same charge.

In the email shown in court Friday, Goodman described his source of information as “a goldmine” and said he was “safe, productive and cost-effective.” 

Edis said the message was also among a number of emails Goodman printed after his first arrest in August 2006. He had tried to access the News International system to download emails that he kept for his protection.

"He identified at that moment emails which implicated Andy Coulson in this conduct,” Edis said. “One of them a full copy of the email he had sent to Mr. Coulson.”

“It is perfectly clear Mr. Coulson understood that email,” about Mulcaire's work, Edis added. “He didn’t write back to say ‘Clive, have you taken leave of your senses, I’ve no idea what you are talking about.’ He said: ‘I’m sorry it’s got to go.’” 

Coulson and Goodman are accused of being part of a six-year conspiracy to hack the phones of public figures.

There are eight defendants on trial on various charges related to phone hacking, illegal payments to officials for stories, and hindering police investigations. They all deny the charges and have pleaded not guilty. 

The ongoing trial is expected to last for six months.