The News of the World was “the centre of my life”, its former managing editor has told the hacking trial in London.
Stuart Kuttner, 74, who is accused of being part of a conspiracy to hack phones, spoke of his dedication to the newspaper as he gave evidence in the witness box at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
“May I just say something? I’m trying to say I was dedicated to a large newspaper. The News of the World was the centre of my life,” Kuttner told the court.
Kuttner said his responsibilities included approving cash payments and keeping the newspaper on budget during his 22 years in the role. He retired four years ago.
“A very few stories were made in cash – a tiny minority, small minority. And just as I signed off approval for financial documents including payments for stories, pictures and articles and the like, I was asked to approve cash payments,” he said.
Describing his relationship with former editor Rebekah Brooks, Kuttner said she was a long-time colleague and someone he had admired.
He said she was “ambitious in a perfectly natural way”.
He also described Brooks’s successor as editor, Andy Coulson, as “professional” and “focused”.
But he said former royal editor and co-defendant Clive Goodman was an “enigma”.
“I think my concern about Clive was he did not want to go out on a story, which seemed to be a thing that journalists should do,” Kuttner said.
He said he and Brooks travelled to Paris in his place on one occasion to secure a story.
Kuttner was giving evidence despite suffering ill-health. He has had two heart attacks and a stroke in recent years.
He began his evidence in place of Goodman, who was still too unwell to continue with his cross-examination.
Kuttner denies conspiring with Brooks and Coulson, and others, to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006.
His evidence is expected to last for four days.