Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had 6 year affair

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The trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson took an extraordinary and unexpected twist yesterday when the prosecution submitted evidence of a six year affair between them. As editors of The Sun and the News of the World respectively, and both married, it appears that they had a romantic relationship between 1998 and 2004.

Andrew Edis QC told the Old Bailey jury that the affair had come to light when police found a computer at Brooks's London flat that containing a letter, written by Brooks to Coulson in February 2004, from which the affair could be reasonably inferred.

The letter, said Edis, was "elegant, intelligent and well-written" and seemingly written in response to Coulson’s attempt to end the affair. Reading out a section of the letter in a perhaps overly voyeuristic and prurient manner, Edis quoted Brooks as saying "The fact is that you are my very best friend. I tell you everything, I confide in you, I seek your advice, I love you, care about you, worry about you. We laugh and cry together … In fact, without our relationship in my life, I am really not sure how I will cope.

"I'm frightened to be without you but, bearing in mind 'the rules', you will not know how I am doing, and visa versa … Obviously I can't discuss my worries, concerns, problems at work with you any more."

Edis justified his rather tabloid approach to prosecution by stating that the existence of the relationship spoke directly to the charges of conspiracy between them. The affair apparently began when Coulson was Brooks’ deputy at the News of the World before he took over at the Sunday title and Brooks took over at The Sun. Unbelievably, both parties actually got married while the affair was ongoing – Brooks to Ross Kemp in 2002 and Coulson to Eloise Patrick in 2000.

But before anyone feels too much sympathy for the pair having their personal lives aired in this way, it is important to remember who we are dealing with and how many personal lives they destroyed. Indeed the jury was told how the phones of David Blunkett, John Prescott and trade unionist Andy Gilchrist were hacked to expose their extra marital affairs, with a Sun leader describing Gilchrist as "a lying, cheating, low-life fornicator".

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