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'Assistant retrieved' Brooks notebooks

A NEWS International archivist handed over boxes of then-boss Rebekah Brooks' notebooks, hours after Andy Coulson was arrested in connection with phone hacking, the Old Bailey has heard.

Nick Mays, who worked as an archivist from 2008, told the court yesterday he was contacted by Ms Brooks' personal assistant Cheryl Carter to get hold of the boxes, shortly after former Sun editor Coulson's arrest on July 8, 2011.

The court heard Ms Carter made several attempts to contact Mr Mays on that date, requesting to speak with him "asap". Mr Mays said the delivery of the boxes, which Ms Carter later claimed were crammed with her own notebooks from her time as weekly beauty columnist, were originally due to be delivered the following Monday, but were upgraded to "urgent" .

Former NotW and Sun editor Ms Brooks, 45, of Oxfordshire, and Ms Carter, 49, of Chelmsford, Essex, deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, by removing potential evidence which could have been inspected by police.

Prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron took the jury through evidence of how Ms Carter contacted Mr Mays, requesting the boxes with the words "please return Rebekah's books". The notebooks, which dated back to 1995, were then permanently removed from storage at the company's Enfield site.

Asked by Thomas Burke, defending, about the removal of the notebooks and why he did not mention it to police following Ms Brooks' arrest, Mr Mays said the request was entirely normal and in line with the company's then policies and procedures. The trial continues.

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