Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks instructed her personal assistant to remove seven boxes of notebooks from the company’s archive that have “never been seen again”, a jury has heard.
Brooks (aged 45) is accused of conspiring with Cheryl Carter to pervert the course of justice by taking the documents while the police were investigating allegations of phone hacking and payments to public officials.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told jurors at the Old Bailey that the material, said to be Brooks’ notebooks from 1995 to 2007, has never been recovered.
He told the nine women and three men: “Nothing like that has ever been recovered in the course of this inquiry.”
Earlier the court was told that in 2011 the situation for News International became “more fevered” as the firm came under investigation by police after it handed over three emails linked to phone hacking and payment claims, and amid renewed media interest in the allegations.
Mr Edis said: “This was a huge business for News International and for her (Brooks). There were inquiries ongoing.
“At all times she was of course aware that there was a police inquiry, Operation Weeting, which had in fact started when News International handed over these three emails.
“So there was always a course of justice in existence that could be perverted by hiding evidence.
“Hiding evidence was not acceptable at any time that year.
“The atmosphere, we would suggest, became even more fevered as time went on.”
He added: “You can imagine the extremely anxious, if not panic-stricken approach to what was going on.”