News Corp.'s U.K. head of security told a colleague he had dug a hole and "burned stuff" as the News of the World tabloid was closed amid the phone-hacking scandal, the former co-worker told a London court.
Robert Hernandez, a security contractor at the company's London headquarters, said Mark Hanna told him he "had dug a hole in his garden and burned stuff" over a bottle of wine the evening before the tabloid published its last issue in July 2011.
Hanna, on trial for his alleged role in the destruction of evidence, didn't go into any more detail about what was burned, Hernandez said.
Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp.'s United Kingdom unit, was arrested on July 17, 2011, as police officers moved in to gather material from her apartment. News Corp. employed a team of security agents to protect Brooks as public anger mounted over revelations that the now-defunct News of the World tabloid had intercepted the voice-mail messages of a murdered teenager.
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World July 10, 2011, after its final issue in a bid to defuse the growing scandal.
Prosecutors say Brooks, her husband, Charlie, her personal assistant and Hanna conspired to hide evidence at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.
The 45-year-old Brooks and other former News Corp. journalists are accused of intercepting voice-mail messages and bribing public officials for stories.
Hernandez said that Hanna didn't give any more details when asked if he had burned papers.
"He just looked at me and didn't reply and just changed the conversation," Hernandez said.