Brooks: 'I never sanctioned payments to police'

Ex-News International official Rebekah Brooks says she's never knowingly sanctioned a payoff to a police officer.

Brooks appeared today before the House of Commons media committee, a few hours after her former boss Rupert Murdoch and his son James gave evidence.

Brooks was editor of the now defunct News of the World newspaper at the time its alleged a murdered teenager Milly Dowler's phone was hacked in search of material for news stories.

She resigned last week and is currently on bail after her arrest on Sunday by detectives probing allegations of conspiring to intercept communications and corruption but she denies any wrongdoing.

Brooks apologised to lawmakers for the scandal.

"I would like to add my own personal apologies to the apologies that James and Rupert Murdoch have made today ... Allegations of voice intercepts, internet intercepts of victims of crime is pretty horrific and abhorrent and I wanted to reiterate that."

She told the committee the first time she knew of the alleged hacking was two weeks ago, when she read about it in the Guardian newspaper.

She says she immediately wrote to the Dowler family to apologise.

Asked if she has any regrets about the alleged hacking she said: "Of course I have regrets, the idea that Milly Dowler's phone was accessed by someone getting paid by the News of the World, or even worse authorised by someone at the News of the World, is as abhorrent to me as it is to everyone in this room.

"I also regret the speed in which we have found out, or tried to find out the bottom of this investigation, has been too slow.

"I don't know anyone in their right mind who would authorize ... anyone listening to the voicemails of Milly Dowler in those circumstances."

She also denied knowing anything about payments to police officers for information.

"I have never paid a policeman myself. I have never sanctioned, knowingly sanctioned, a payment to a police officer."

When asked about how she felt about the decision to close of the News of the World, she said: "Of course it wasn't the right decision for the hundreds of journalists who have worked on there and had done nothing wrong and were in no way responsible for anything ... We have endeavoured to find a job for every single one of them."

- Herald online staff

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