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Anorak | James Hipwell Says Piers Morgan’s Daily Mirror Hacked Phones: How Did The Guardian Know?

James Hipwell Says Piers Morgan’s Daily Mirror Hacked Phones: How Did The Guardian Know?

by | 23rd, July 2011

JAMES Hipwell – former City Slicker on the Daily Mirror when Piers Morgan was editor – alleges that his former paper used to hack phones – just like they did at the News of the World. No-one – yet – has claimed such things were going on at the Daily Mailwhere Clive Goodman used to work.

Before he took the Mirror job, Morgan was editor of…The News of the World.

James Hipwell, 45, told The Australian Online he saw show business reporters on the Daily Mirror regularly intercept voicemail messages when he worked there from 1998 to 2000.

Hipwell is the only Fleet Street whistleblower who is offering to go on the record with accounts of voicemail hacking at newspapers other than the News of the World, which was closed down by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation two weeks ago.

“I know that for one simple reason: I used to see it going on around me all the time when I worked at the Daily Mirror,” he said …

The Mirror says Hipwewell is mistaken. But how reputable is he?  Well, Hipwell went to prison for stock market manipulation. As the Press Gazzette reported in 2007:

Hipwell, 40, of Caledonian Road, Holloway, north London, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in December 2005 of conspiring to breach the Financial Services Act between August 1999 and February 2000.

For months he repeatedly purchased low-priced share issues, recommended them to readers and then quickly sold them as values soared.

Morgan also bought shares. The Telegraph’s Suzy Jagger wrote in 2000:

PIERS MORGAN, the editor of The Mirror, yesterday confirmed that he had bought around £20,000 worth of Viglen Technology shares the day before his newspaper published an “exclusive” story saying that the company was launching a separate internet division.

Shares in Viglen, Sir Alan Sugar’s computer hardware company, jumped from 181p to 366p the following day after Sir Alan had confirmed the story. They closed at 225.5p yesterday.

Mr Morgan bought the shares on Jan 17 in his own name through Kyte Securities. The Mirror article appeared under the headline “Sugar to Join Net Goldrush”. Mr Morgan confirmed last night: “I bought about £20,000 worth of them. They were about 150p.” He had not sold the shares which he perceives as a “long-term investment”.

The editor said he had not known that the two financial journalists Anil Bhoyrul and James Hipwell, who are in charge of the paper’s City pages, were publishing a story on the stock the following day. Mr Morgan said: “It was nothing to do with the column. I never see the City column before the market shuts, the first I see of it is around 6.30pm or 7pm in the evening.”

He was surprised when the share price soared. “I was amused when I saw it; I was going to buy them anyway. I believe in Alan Sugar. He is a columnist here and it is a good company.” While The Mirror named the stock as one of its share tips of the year, Mr Morgan said: “Everyone was tipping them. I didn’t buy them before they were made share tip of the year.” He said Viglen’s move into internet-related activities was well known. Mr Morgan added: “I don’t buy that many shares and I am scrupulous about how I do it.”

The Code of Practice for the newspaper industry recommends that journalists must not “buy or sell, either directly or through nominees of agents, shares or securities about which they have written recently or about which they intend to write in the near future.”

The code adds: “It is essential to the workings of an agreed code that it be honoured not only to the letter but in the full spirit.” When asked to comment on his share purchases in the light of the code, Mr Morgan said: “You tell me how the code of coduct works. Everyone else had been tipping them. I would never do anything improper; I do not go sneaking over to see what The Mirror’s tip of the day was.”

Morgan did not break the law. He was not charged.

Like the late Sean Hoare, who claimed phone hacking went on under Andy Coulson’s editorship at the NoTW,  Hipwell is a tainted source. Hoare was dismissed from the NoTW for drink and drug problems. What are Hipwell’s motives?

So. Are there any other Fleet Street insiders who will blow the whistle – who will provide the smoking gun that implicates Rupert Murdoch’s elite and maybe – just maybe – even David Cameron, Gordon Brown or Tony Blair?

No.

Clive Goodman, the former royal editor and reporter for the News of the jailed who in January 2007 was jailed for intercepting mobile phone messages involving members of the Royal Household, has not spoken out. Why not?

The New York Times yesterday reported that five former journalists at the Mirror’s stablemate The People had said that they regularly witnessed hacking in that newsroom in the late 1990s to early 2000, but they spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“I don’t think anyone quite realised the criminality of it,” said one of the unnamed former reporters at The People.

To make this stick, the judiciary needs a credible name. But no-one will talk. Why not..?

Incidentally, James Hipwell has been writing for the… Guardian:

James Hipwell is a freelance writer and journalist who writes mainly about kidney failure and gambling.

Yep. That is the Guardian that investigated the phone hacking saga and would not let it lie…




Posted: 23rd, July 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink