"Do his phone," Murdoch editor told journalist hunting celebrity scoop

Reuters

* Former News of the World editors on trial for hacking

* Prince Harry hacked among the hacked calls

* Eight defendants in high-profile trial deny charges

* Jury hears Coulson approved illegal payment to police

By Michael Holden

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Andy Coulson, an editor of RupertMurdoch's now defunct News of the World newspaper, instructed ajournalist working on a story about a celebrity to "do hisphone", a jury trying Coulson and three others for conspiring tohack phones was told on Friday.

The trial was also told how a phone call from QueenElizabeth's grandson Prince Harry was hacked, and fellowex-editor Rebekah Brooks authorised payments at Murdoch's Suntabloid to military figures for a picture of Prince William in abikini and details of soldiers killed on active duty.

Coulson and Brooks are the two most high-profile figuresamong eight defendants on trial on various charges related tophone-hacking, illegal payments to officials for stories, andhindering police investigations. They all deny the chargeslinked to a scandal that shook the British establishment.

After leaving the News of the World, Coulson went on to bePrime Minister David Cameron's media chief. Brooks, a closeconfidante of Murdoch and a friend of Cameron, rose to be chiefexecutive of News International, the British newspaper arm ofNews Corp.

The Old Bailey, England's Central Criminal Court, heard thatin May 2006, the paper was planning to run an exclusive storyabout the private life of Calum Best, the son of formerManchester United soccer star George Best.

During an email exchange with Ian Edmondson, a former seniorjournalist who is also on trial, Coulson discussed whether Bestmight leak the story to others.

"Do his phone," Coulson wrote in an email shown to the jury.

HACKING TARGETS

Earlier, the court heard that News of the Worldphone-hacking targets included England soccer star Wayne Rooney,actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller, and Tom Parker Bowles, theson of heir to the throne Prince Charles's second wife Camilla.

However, Prince Harry was the most notable figure to becaught by the phone-hacking which was carried out by GlennMulcaire, a private eye in the pay of the tabloid, at the behestof the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman.

The jury was read a transcript of a call from Harry to thevoicemail of his private secretary, a former soldier, inDecember 2005 in which the prince asked him to help getinformation for an exam while at Sandhurst military academy.

"Just wondering if you have any info at all on siege on theIranian embassy because I need to write an essay quite quicklyon that," the transcript said.

When Coulson, 45, asked Goodman what was happening about thestory, he received the reply: "Just finished the calls. Need togo through the tapes."

The story later appeared in the paper, while another storyobtained from hacking about Prince William being shot during anight exercise was also printed.

Phone-hacking first hit the headlines in 2007 when Mulcaireand Goodman were convicted of tapping phones of royal aides.

Mulcaire has now admitted further hacking charges, includingtapping the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, arevelation which caused public disgust in the summer of 2011,prompting Murdoch to close the 168-year-old paper.

Goodman is now on trial accused with Coulson of makingillegal payments to police.

The court heard Goodman had emailed Coulson in January 2003asking him to approve a 1,000-pound ($1,600) cash payment to aroyal protection officer for a "Green Book" which containedprivate numbers of the royal household.

"These people will not be paid in anything other than cashbecause if they're discovered selling stuff to us they end up oncriminal charges, as could we," the email shown to the jurysaid. Coulson replied: "This is fine" but wondered why he hadpaid for a similar directory recently.

"This is the harder to get one which has the Queen's directlines to her family in it," Goodman said.

"ME, YOU AND THE EDITOR IN JAIL"

In another email shown to thecourt, Goodman explained hisuse of cash payments to some stories and acknowledged they wereillegal.

"I'm not going to put it in writing but any paper orcomputer trail that leads to them or their families will putthem, me, you and the editor in jail," the email said.

After Goodman's conviction in 2007, both Coulson and Brooks,who was then editor of the News of the World's sister paper theSun, along with other figures were worried about what Goodmanmight reveal, Edis said.

"You can see they had every reason to be," he told the jury,adding emails showed Brooks, 45, offered the disgraced reporterjobs at the Sun which he declined.

The court was also told about illegal payments made byreporters at the Sun to public officials which were authorisedby Brooks, including 4,000 pounds to a soldier at Sandhurst fora photo of Prince William at a James Bond themed party wearingjust a bikini and a Hawaiian shirt.

The paper ran a story although the picture was neverpublished.

Huge payments were also made to a senior Ministry of Defenceofficial which included details of servicemen killed on dutybefore they were officially announced, the court heard.

"Mrs Brooks herself personally authorised nearly 40,000pounds worth of payments," Edis said. "The Sun, through otherpeople working for her, paid nearly twice that amount."

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