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Brooks: I feel vindicated by jury's verdict

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has told a media scrum that she was innocent of the crimes laid against her and that, after the ordeal of an eight-month, £95m trial into phone hacking, she felt vindicated by the jury's unanimous verdicts.

difficult time: Rebekah Brooks said her thoughts were will colleagues who faced further trials. Picture: Getty
difficult time: Rebekah Brooks said her thoughts were will colleagues who faced further trials. Picture: Getty

Flanked by Charlie, her racehorse trainer husband, outside their London home, the 46-year-old former Sun and News of the World editor looked close to tears as she recounted how difficult the last three years had been.

While she did not mention the hacking victims directly, Mrs Brooks said the trial had been "tough for everybody on all sides, that have been affected by the issues highlighted by this case".

She went on: "After all, we have a happy and healthy daughter. We have our brave and resolute mums who have been at court most of the time and we have had strong and unwavering support from all friends, our family and from our legal teams that have believed in us from the beginning.

"I am innocent of the crimes that I was charged with and I feel vindicated by the unanimous verdicts. When I was arrested, it was in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy, of politics and of comment. Some of that was fair but much of it was not, so I am very grateful to the jury for coming to their decision."

As questions were shouted at her about the phone hacking ­scandal, she said recent months had been a time of reflection. "I have learned some valuable lessons and, hopefully, I am the wiser for it."

The former newspaper executive ended by saying her thoughts were with her former colleagues and their families who faced future trials and that what she wanted to do now was spend time with her daughter Scarlett.

Mr Brooks, 51, who was cleared alongside his wife, said he was proud of her. While she made no mention of Andy Coulson, her former lover and colleague at the NotW, who was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones, Mr Brooks said: "Obviously, I am really concerned for Andy and Eloise [his wife] and their family. I would like to say I am really sad."

After eight days of deliberation the jury at the Old Bailey cleared Mrs Brooks of phone hacking, plotting to commit misconduct in a public office by agreeing to pay a Sun journalist's "number one military contact" and perverting the course of justice.

Cheryl Carter, her former personal assistant, Mark Hanna, News International's head of security, and Stuart Kuttner, the company's former managing editor, were also cleared.

Coulson's conviction prompted a "full and frank" apology from David Cameron, who had appointed him as his chief Number 10 spin doctor despite warnings after he resigned as NotW editor following the first phone hacking trial.

Coulson, 46, who will learn next week whether or not he will face a retrial on further charges, faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced on Friday for his phone hacking conviction.

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