Celebrity

Ex-tabloid royal editor: I hacked Kate 155 times

LONDON (AP) — The former royal editor of the News of the World said Wednesday that he repeatedly hacked the voicemails of Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton in the months before he was arrested for illegal eavesdropping in 2006.

Under cross examination at Britain's phone hacking trial, Clive Goodman acknowledged he had listened to Middleton's voicemails 155 times, Prince William's 35 times and Prince Harry's nine times. Goodman was briefly jailed in 2007, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, for hacking the phones of royal aides. But Goodman said police and prosecutors never asked him whether he had also targeted members of the royal family.

"I have been as open and honest about hacking as I can be, but nobody has asked me any questions about this before," said Goodman, 56. Earlier in the trial the jury was read transcripts of intercepted phone messages between William and Kate from the days when they were courting. She became the Duchess of Cambridge when they married in 2011.

Goodman said Kate was first targeted in late 2005, when she was becoming "a figure of increasing importance around the royal family." "There were discussions about her and Prince William marrying, moving in, settling down," he said. "She started to receive semi royal status and things were moving on."

Goodman and six others — including ex-News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson — are on trial over wrongdoing at Rupert Murdoch's British tabloids. Murdoch shut down the News of the World in 2011 after evidence emerged that its staff had hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians and even a kidnapped 13-year-old girl.

The defendants deny all the charges. Goodman said Coulson was aware that he and Mulcaire were hacking phones — a claim Coulson denies. "Glenn Mulcaire was such a valuable resource for the paper I had to tell him (Coulson), so I did," Goodman said.

Goodman returned to the witness box on Wednesday after a two-month break due to ill health. Judge John Saunders told the jury that a medical expert had declared the former journalist fit to continue giving evidence.

Goodman is not charged with hacking phones, but of conspiring to pay officials for royal phone directories.

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