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Phone-hacking trial: The Royal voicemails, babykins and matey

By James Doleman

December 19, 2013 | 8 min read

Court 12 at London's Old Bailey opened at 9am today but due to legal argument it was 11.15am before the jury took their seats. Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, then presented to the jury another folder of documents, "The Royal voicemail bundle" and a police officer, detective sergeant Guest, was called to the witness stand to assist the court with them.

Evidence: The court heard transcripts relating to Kate Middleton

Andrew Edis QC told the court that much of the material had already been introduced, but some was new and it was this that the jury would be considering. The first document was a transcript of a voicemail, a recording of which was found at the home of convicted phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire, from the phone of Helen Asprey, a member of the Royal household, discussing an injury to "our mutual friend". This was linked to an email from Clive Goodman, News of the World Royal reporter, to Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, discussing an injury to Prince Harry, which Goodman told Coulson was "scanned" from Asprey's phone.

This was then linked to a News of the World article by Goodman that Harry had an injury that could "scupper his chances of joining the army".

The next document shown was a transcript of another voicemail, left by Prince Harry to Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, his personal private secretary, asking for help with an essay he had been set at Sandhurst military college. An email exchange between Goodman and Coulson follows on whether to run a story that Harry was "cheating" by asking for help. Coulson asked: "Can we stand this up?"

Goodman then emailed another journalist, saying that Coulson had had a "full briefing" and had told Goodman to "steam in". A story from the News of the World followed, telling the story of Harry asking for help, including the line: "It's like who wants to be a brigadier with Pinkerton as his phone a friend".

The next voicemail transcript the court heard was from Prince William to Kate Middleton, which started "Hi baby its me" and went on to recount a story that he had got lost on an exercise and was nearly shot (with blanks) by another regiment. Goodman then emailed Coulson saying "matey" was producing good results and told him about William getting lost on an exercise. An article from the next issue of the News of the World recounting the same story was then read to the jury.

Another transcript of a voicemail left by William on Middleton's phone was then read to the jury, but this was redacted to remove personal references. In the message, William called Middleton "babykins" and told her he was to go out "beadling" that night. Goodman then emailed Coulson saying William was "out" but it was hard to "stand up", asking if he should put it to the Royal press office, adding: "They went to a pub first, we could say it a punter saw them."

Coulson replied with one word: "Yes." A Clive Goodman article from the News of the World was then shown to the jury, starting "William wants the girl he calls babykins to be his princess".

The next voicemail transcript was again from William to Middleton. "Hello baby it's me, bit of a nightmare day, don't think leave here until about seven give you a buzz when I'm in the car, hopefully I can come and see you."

On the same evening, Goodman emailed another journalist: "William is off to see Kate tonight," and suggested the journalist go to Middleton's parents' house to try and get a picture. Another Royal voicemail intercepted by Mulcaire was of Prince William calling Prince Harry and pretending to be his then girlfriend Chelsea Davy.

A story from the next issue of the News of the World recounting the incident was then displayed on the court screens. Another intercepted voicemail found at Mulcaire's home was from the commandant of Sandhurst to Lowther-Pinkerton complaining about William's behaviour at a ball. In a voicemail left by William to Middleton about the incident, he said: "I was pissed but I wasn't that bad."

An email from Goodman to another journalist discussed if they should use that line in a piece. Goodman stated: "Too much information, would be incredibly dangerous to the source."

The prosecution then moved on to the next section of documents, which it went through at a "quick canter" in the words of Andrew Edis. These were discussions between various people at the News of the World about payments to a source, "Alexander", which the court has already heard was, according to the prosecution, a pseudonym for a police officer who sold Royal telephone directories to Clive Goodman.

One new email was from Goodman to Coulson in February 2005 in which he discussed the possibility that Paddy Harmiston, a member of the Royal Household, may be getting his phone hacked. Goodman says to Coulson: "I can find out if that is possible or if it has passwords all over it."

A further email from was then read from Goodman to Coulson on 8 July 2005: "You know the army ring of steel round Buckingham palace? I'm told the soldiers not usually trusted to have ammo but have now been issued it is as Royal protection officers have a severe manning crisis due to a new fitness regime, failure rate running at 65 per cent."

There then followed an email discussion between Goodman and another journalist (who we cannot name for legal reasons) about how much they should pay for this story. They finally settled on £500. In a further email, Goodman told another News of the World journalist: "No story on Royal cops this week, my man got sent on a training course."

Further emails about Royal security between Goodman and the other journalist then followed. One was about a police officer who sparked a security alert by leaving his post to buy a souvenir. This was linked by Edis to a story "Dozy Cop sparks alert" in the News of the World.

There was also a discussion about the Royal Princes: "William and Harry have had big fall out over who gets to use royal estates on particular weekends, both being pompous about it, pulling rank."

A linked News of the World story that William and Harry had had a "row" over who got the best "shooting weekends at Balmoral" was shown to the jury. In October 2005, Goodman emailed Coulson saying "new project starting to get results, William's office in meltdown." Coulson replied: "Pop in."

In November Goodman emails Coulson "got a sec on extending the Matey trial?" Coulson replies "Okey Doke." The prosecution allege that "matey" is a pseudonym for phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire.

The court then took a short break.

When the trial resumed the prosecution read more documents into evidence. These included payment records to a Goodman source called "Anderson" who he described as "someone in uniform" who needed to be paid in cash to avoid a "paper trail".

Goodman also asked Andy Coulson by email: "Can we extend matey by one more week?" and Coulson replied "fine".

A story about Ian Blair, then head of the Metropolitan police, being "pissed" at an official function was proposed by Goodman to Neil Wallis, a news editor at the News of the World. Wallis replied: "We have no eye witness," and the story was dropped. Another email from Goodman discussed Prince Harry's relationship with Chelsea Davy and said that Harry only called her when he was drunk and then "screams his affection down the phone while his mates shout encouragement in the background".

Asked where the story came from, Goodman replied: "It's from the same source we had on retainer."

The court then rose for lunch.

Click here to read more posts from The Drum's daily trial coverage

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