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Princess Diana leaked royal directories to Murdoch tabloid, court hears

Source: Reuters - Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:31 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Michael Holden

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - The former royal editor of Rupert Murdoch's now defunct British tabloid the News of the World told a court on Thursday the late Princess Diana had given him a directory of royal phone numbers to get back at her then husband Prince Charles.

Clive Goodman said the confidential directory which contained numbers of senior members of Britain's royal household was delivered to the newspaper's offices in 1992 when Diana was growing increasingly bitter about her husband.

Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for accessing the voicemails of mobile phones belonging to senior royal aides, is on trial accused of making illegal payments to police officers to obtain telephone directories of the royal household.

Police found 15 such directories at Goodman's home when he was arrested in 2006.

Asked where a "green book" directory dating from 1992 had come from, Goodman told the Old Bailey court: "(It was) provided to us by the Princess of Wales.

"It arrived at the office in an envelope with my name on it," he said, adding he received a call from Diana later to check he had received it.

Diana formally separated from Charles in December 1992 and the couple divorced in 1996. She was killed the following year in a car crash in Paris.

Goodman said she had a close relationship with several journalists at the time and wanted to use the press and the News of the World in particular as a "powerful" ally against Charles.

"She was at the time going through a very tough time. She told me she wanted me to see this document to see the scale of her husband's staff and household compared to hers," Goodman told the court.

"She felt she was in a very bitter situation at the time. She felt she was being swamped by the people close to him and his household. She was looking for an ally to take him on to show the kind of forces ranged against her."

Goodman denied any of the directories had come from a public official or that he had paid for them.

Earlier, Goodman told the court that the culture at the paper when Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief, became editor after 2003 was "quite bullying, menacing" and this was exacerbated by his deputy Neil Wallis.

"He became more aggressive, more combative and more bullying," Goodman said of Coulson.

The trial has been told that four other former News of the World journalists, including three senior editorial figures, had now also admitted conspiracy to hack phones during Coulson's editorship.

Coulson, who resigned after Goodman was jailed in 2007 before becoming media chief of Cameron's Conservative Party, is accused of authorising Goodman's alleged illegal payments and conspiracy to hack phones.

He denies the charges. (Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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