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UK PM's former media chief tells court he heard hacked messages

Published on Apr 17, 2014 2:32 AM
Former editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson arrives at the Old Bailey courthouse in London on April 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Andy Coulson, the former media chief to British Prime Minister David Cameron, told a London court on Wednesday he had listened to a recording of hacked voicemail messages left by the then interior minister in 2004.

Coulson, who was editing Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid at the time, is on trial for conspiring to hack into voicemail messages in a case that has shaken the media tycoon's empire and Britain's political elite.

Coulson has denied the charge, but admitted for the first time on Wednesday that one of his senior reporters had once played him excerpts of voicemail messages left by then Home Secretary David Blunkett on the mobile phone of a woman with whom he was having a relationship.

"This was the first and only time voicemail messages were played to me," Coulson told the packed Old Bailey court where he was appearing in the witness box for the third day in a trial that has run for 5-1/2 months.

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