Heather Mills V Piers Morgan: Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!
HEATHER Mills V Piers Morgan. Every so often you get story you can watch untrammelled by the need to feel sympathy for any of the protagonists. Morgan is the media high flyer now working in the US. Mills is the woman castigated in the tabloid press for having the temerity to marry one of The Beatles.
Heather Mills alleges that a senior Mirror Group journalist – not Piers Morgan, the Mirror’s editor at the time – admitted hacking voicemails left for her by her then-boyfriend Sir Paul McCartney. During a 2001 chat in which she claims the executive admitted hacking, she claims to have threatened him with the police if he ran it:
“You’ve obviously hacked my phone and if you do anything with this story… I’ll go to the police.”
“OK, OK, yeah we did hear it on your voice messages, I won’t run it.”
Odd, indeed, that the hack should, as Mills claims, quote to her the content of her private phone’s voicemail “verbatim“.
The Daily Mirror owns, Trinity Mirror plc. It says all its journalists work within the law.
Therese Coffey , a member of the culture, media and sport select committee, says Ms Mills’ allegations are “very strong“:
“I just hope that the police take the evidence and go with it and if Mr Morgan wants to come back to the UK and help them with their inquiries, and I don’t mean being arrested in any way, I’m sure he can add more light. I think it would help everybody, including himself and this investigation, if he was able to say more about why he wrote what he did in 2006.”
In 2006, Morgan told the Daily Mail:
At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang ‘We Can Work It Out’ into the answerphone.
“I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do.”
Kirsty Young (host): And what about this nice middle class boy who would have to be dealing with, I mean, essentially people who rake through bins for a living, people who tap people’s phones, people who take secret photographs and do all that very nasty down in the gutter stuff?
Morgan: Yeah.. Well to be honest let’s put that in perspective as well, not a lot of that went on…
Morgan: A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. [And that was the big mistake.] That’s not to defend it because obviously you were running the results of their work. I’m quite happy to be parked in the corner as tabloid beast and to have to sit here defending all these things I used to get up to. I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do. I simply say the net of people doing it was very wide and certainly encompassed the high and low end of the newspaper market.
He also says:
“There was absolutely no honest way that Piers Morgan could have obtained that tape that he has so proudly bragged about unless they had gone into my voice messages.”
Heather Mills has made unsubstantiated claims about a conversation she may or may not have had with a senior executive from a Trinity Mirror newspaper in 2001. The BBC has confirmed to me that this executive was not employed by the Daily Mirror.
I have no knowledge of any conversation any executive from other newspapers at Trinity Mirror may or may not have had with Heather Mills. What I can say and have knowledge of is that Sir Paul McCartney asserted that Heather Mills illegally intercepted his telephones, and leaked confidential material to the media. This is well documented, and was stated in their divorce case. Further, in his judgment, The Honourable Mr. Justice Bennett wrote of Heather Mills: “I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.”
No doubt everyone will take this and other instances of somewhat extravagant claims by Ms Mills into account in assessing what credibility and platform her assertions are given. And to reiterate, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.
What the truth is, we do not know. So long as all parties stick to the facts, the truth twill out. The rest of us can just enjoy the show. Affer all, isn’t the media all about being entertained..?