Ex-reporter admits he "misspoke" over phone-hacking evidence

LONDON (REUTERS) - A former tabloid journalist who has admitted phone-hacking while at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World British newspaper admitted on Thursday he had given wrong information earlier this week at the trial of one of the now defunct paper's former editors.

Dan Evans, who is giving evidence for the prosecution in the case of Andy Coulson and other former Murdoch staff, said he was sorry if he had misled the court during evidence he had given during four days of testimony.

Coulson, editor of the paper until 2007 and Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief up to 2011, denies conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemail messages on mobile phones and authorising illegal payments to public officials.

Evans has told the Old Bailey he hacked thousands of voicemails during his time at the News of the World and that Coulson knew exactly what he did.

During three earlier days of testimony, Evans said he had hacked the phone of interior designer Kelly Hoppen and had heard actress Sienna Miller leaving a tearful message on it which formed the basis of a story in the paper.

However, on Thursday he told the jury he had been thinking very hard and now had "nagging doubts" about what he had said and instead believed the message had been left by Miller's sister.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead anybody and I misspoke my evidence," Evans said.

"I don't have specific total recall of everything that went on a long time ago."

During a morning of often heated exchanges, Coulson's lawyer Timothy Langdale accused Evans, who has admitted lying in legal statements and to police when he was first accused of hacking, of changing his testimony to fit other evidence being put before the court.

Quizzed about the detail of the Miller story which appeared in the paper, Evans said much of it came from his hacking of Hoppen's phone but he had embellished it with a "bit of made-up 'friend said' quotery".

He said that regularly in tabloid newspapers quotes from a source or other information were just made up.

"Sorry to shatter everybody's illusions but it's a fact," Evans said.

The trial of Coulson and six others accused of offences relating to the phone-hacking scandal, including Rebekah Brooks the former News International chief, is due to last until May.

They deny all charges.