News of the World journalists' computers were destroyed by 'putting them through a grinder and smashing them up'
They were 'taken out and smashed up' last autumn at a time when News International was being sued over the illegal activity at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid.
The computers were destroyed during a move from the paper's headquarters in east London to an office at the nearby Thomas More Square, a court has heard.
Only the terminal belonging to show business reporter Dan Evans still exists, according to Jeremy Reed, the barrister representing a number of phone hacking victims.
Mr Reed was speaking at a pre-trial hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice into civil damages test cases to be heard in January.
News International decided to grind down the hard drives as part of a routine upgrading of its technical hardware, it is understood.
Vital internal emails are believed to have been copied and kept on servers outside the building.
Mr Evans and NI subsidiary News group Newspapers, were sued by designer Kelly Hoppen over interception of messages left on her mobile phone between 2004 and 2006.
The destruction of computers would have happened long after senior executives at the paper were made aware that phone hacking was not the work of just one 'rogue' reporter.
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