POLICE kept the extent of hacking at the News Of The World out of the public eye out of "discretion" for victims, which included members of the royal family, jurors heard.

The paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman again said he had always been "open and honest" about his activities, despite being confronted with evidence on Wednesday he repeatedly hacked Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry.

He said that, compared with a colleague, he was just a "spear carrier" rather than the "five act opera" of hacking.

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He told the Old Bailey, London, that, at the time he was caught, "there was not a single significant story broken at the News Of The World in the last couple of years" that the colleague, who cannot be named, had not got from tampering with phones.

Mr Goodman, 56, of Surrey, was dismissed in 2007 after he pleaded guilty and was jailed for hacking royal aides with private detective Glenn Mulcaire.

Under renewed questioning by the lawyer for Andy Coulson, the paper's former editor, he denied staying quiet about the extent of his phone hacking when he appealed against his sacking.

Mr Goodman said: "The reason these things did not come into the public domain before was the police and CPS in 2006/07 decided they were not going to publish things to protect the discretion of the victims."

The court also heard he hacked Ms Middleton's phone and listened to a message from Prince William telling her about being ambushed and shot with blanks on a night exercise at Aldershot.

Mr Goodman and Mr Coulson both deny conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office in relation to paying police for information. Mr Coulson and others also deny hacking phones.

The trial continues.