FORMER News International boss Rebekah Brooks began giving evidence in her defence at the phone hacking trial today and described her time on work experience at the Warrington Guardian.

The 45-year-old ex-tabloid editor, who faces charges of conspiring to hack phones, two of perverting the course of justice and one of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, went to school in Appleton

Brooks briefly described her childhood and began outlining the start of her career in journalism, which she said she was inspired to pursue by her grandmother.

After confirming that she was born in Warrington, Cheshire, in 1968 and was an only child, she told the packed Old Bailey courtroom: "My grandmother, who I said lived with us, she was a writer.

"She wrote a lot of poetry and she wrote a poetry column for a local newspaper.

"The idea probably stemmed from her."

She said she had 'swept the floors and made the tea' when she got work experience at the Warrington Guardian at the age of 14 and then got her first full-time job in journalism in 1988, when she was around 20.

Earlier in the hearing Mrs Brooks was formally cleared of a charge linked to a picture of Prince William dressed as a bikini-clad Bond girl at a Sandhurst party.

All seven defendants involved in the trial deny the various charges against them.

The trial continues.