Arrested: A 47-year-old woman, believed to be Cheryl Carter, was detained this morning by police in Essex
Scotland Yard this morning confirmed the arrest of a 47-year-old woman, understood to be Cheryl Carter, on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Ms Carter was arrested at her Billericay home at dawn as part of Operation Weeting, the police investigation into phone-hacking.
Detectives are understood to be investigating allegations that emails were destroyed at the company before evidence was handed over to the Metropolitan Police.
Ms Carter has been a PA to Brooks for 19 years and will be intimate with her movements and business affairs.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police said today: 'Officers from Operation Weeting have this morning arrested a 47-year-old woman at an address in Essex.
'The woman was arrested at approximately 06.55 on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice, and she is currently in custody at an Essex police station.
'She is the 17th person to be arrested as part of Operation Weeting, the investigation into phone hacking.'
Ms Carter is the first Weeting arrest since private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was released on bail until March over allegations of phone hacking and perverting the course of justice.
Ms Carter worked for Ms Brooks when she was appointed News of the World editor in 2000, Sun editor in 2003, and then promoted to News International chief executive in 2009.
She is a partner in a cosmetics business with former model and celebrity make-up artist Sue Moxley, and has also offered beauty tips on website Thinkingslimmer.com.
It is understood she left NI shortly after Brooks resigned from the company.
The news comes Brooks enjoyed a new year sunshine holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband Charlie.
Welcome break: Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie flew to South Africa to spend New Year's Eve there
Brooks is bailed to return for questioning by police in March. Her lawyer has said she denies committing any criminal offence.
Welcome break: Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie flew in to South Africa to spend New Year's Eve with friends.
The couple, who are to become parents to a baby girl born via a surrogate in February, were joined by friends as they flew in to Cape Town on December 29.
The group spent a peaceful weekend touring the Cape peninsula; a world away from the ongoing hacking storm back home.
Dressed in casual summer clothes and shielding their faces with sun hats, Ms Brooks and her husband browsed a craft market at the harbour before heading to the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve.
Tranquil: The two spent an afternoon exploring a nature reserve, stopping to pose for photos
Later, the two took a funicular ride to the highest point for a walk around the lighthouse, before heading down to Boulders Beach to watch the antics of the penguins.
They rounded off the weekend with a visit to World Heritage site Robben Island.
Brooks received a bumper £1.7million severance package and a chauffeur-driven limousine in a controversial pay-off deal when she quit.
She resigned from the company in the wake of public fury over the news that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked.
In a difficult year for Brooks, she also made a humbling appearance at a Parliamentary Committee inquiry, looking pale and drawn as she made a public apology to the victims of the phone-hacking scandal.
This month's U.S. edition of Vanity Fair devotes 3,000 words to Ms Brooks in a caustic profile that serves as a retelling of how she clawed her way to the top of News International.
Humbled: The former NoTW editor was forced to resign from her role as News International's chief executive last year, and gave a public apology to the victims of the hacking scandal at a Parliamentary Committee hearing
It also quotes former colleagues saying she used her 'tactile' feminine charm to get her way. One told Vanity Fair: 'From the way she acted, you would think she wanted to sleep with you... but she didn't want to sleep with the help; she was way too up the scale for that'.
Cover girl: Brooks was the subject of a caustic profile piece in the U.S. edition of Vanity Fair
In his eyes she could do no wrong and was given increasingly more senior posts until her eventual downfall.
The article finally claims she has 'reappeared on the dinner circuit' around her Chipping Norton home, where friends paint her as among the 'victims' and that Ms Brooks is planning to rehabilitate herself in the public eye through philanthropic work, including a charity event planned next month.
Phone-hacking detectives working their way through 300 million emails from NI have arrested a series of high-profile figures, including ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson.
Some 1,800 people have come forward to express fears that they may have been hacked but the final total of people whose phones were hacked by the News of the World will be about 800, the force believes.
The scandal has already led to the closure of the Sunday tabloid after 168 years, prompted a major public inquiry, and forced the resignation of Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and assistant commissioner John Yates.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082606/Cheryl-Carter-Rebekah-Brooks-personal-assistant-arrested-phone-hacking-investigation.html#ixzz1vJ5ilL2z