By Martin Hickman
A security boss contracted by News International to guard Rebekah Brooks described an alleged plot to hide evidence from police as “pizzagate,” the hacking trial heard today.
William Geddes, managing director of International Corporate Protection, asked colleague Dave Johnson: “Can you talk ref Pizzagate?”
Mr Geddes sent the message on Monday 18 July after police were called to Mrs Brooks’s flat complex following the discovery of a laptop bag in its basement car park.
A security guard working for News International had delivered some pizzas to Mrs Brooks’s husband Charlie at Chelsea Harbour as cover for returning the laptop bag, according to the Crown.
Asked by judge John Saunders to explain the reference to Pizzagate, Mr Geddes said: “Pizzagate was the term the team came up with for the fact that the errand they ran included not only returning a bag, but a pizza, so that’s what they called it.”
He explained that many of the security guards protecting Mrs Brooks were ex-military who used “lingo.”
Asked again by the judge to clarify Pizzagate, Mr Geddes went on: “My interpretation would be in the spirit of the general lingo used by my team members this was blowing an inconvenient situation into a bit of a drama.”
Mr Geddes explained that his company was contracted by NI’s security chief Mark Hanna in April 2011 to protect the chief executive, Mrs Brooks. ICP was contracted again in June 2011, when Mr Geddes subcontracted part of the job to another security firm, Corunna Solutions.
Mr Geddes told the court: “Our duties were to perform a discreet security coverage and to identify any surveillance against her [Mrs Brooks] that might be carried out by members of the media or hostile members of the public.”
He said the risk assessment suggested there might be an internal threat from “rogue elements” within News International, but did not elaborate.
Mrs Brooks, Mr Brooks and Mr Hanna deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The case continues.
This report was originally on the http://hackinginquiry.org website.