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Thursday 4 August 2011

The Unconvincing Story Of Heather Mills

While a number of media outlets have reported the allegations against the Daily Mirror by the former wife of Beatle Paul, and the usual suspects in the blogosphere have declared this event to be the time they collected on their bets against the appalling Piers Morgan, no-one yet seems to be asking whether Mills’ story makes sense, and what Morgan’s statement (not universally and fully reported) tells us.

Heather Mills was, for many years, the subject of the worst kind of journalistic intrusion. No newspaper that participated in this particular feeding frenzy emerges with any credit, although Mills appears not to have followed through on her threats to take legal action against the Sun, Daily Mail and Evening Standard after the titles made a number of allegations about her past.

Mills did receive apologies from the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sun, Screws, Daily Mail and Daily Express (whether Des’ finest were a day late is not known) after her divorce from McCartney, over stories about her spending, relationships and other personal matters. And after her details were found among Glenn Mulcaire’s notes, she indicated that she would consider action over phone hacking.

And so we come to yesterday’s allegation that the Mirror hacked her phone back in 2001. Mills has apparently named the journalist concerned, who was not working for the Daily Mirror, then edited by Morgan, who in a statement has referred the person as a “senior executive” at Trinity Mirror. A “senior executive” rang someone and admitted they had hacked into their phone?

That, if true, would be staggeringly indiscreet. Moreover, it would be completely out of kilter with the picture emerging of papers using private investigators to do their data gathering – folks like Steve Whittamore and Jonathon Rees. But, as the man said, there’s more, courtesy of Piers Morgan’s response last night.

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” observed Morgan. He followed that with “This is well documented, and was stated in their divorce case”. He then repeats the divorce judge’s less than flattering assessment of Mills’ reliability as a witness.

Piers Morgan did not have to offer that information, and it must therefore be concluded that this was a deliberately constructed form of words. For those not having made the translation, what he appears to be saying is that Mills herself is the source of the voicemail Morgan later told of hearing, he can back up the assertion if need be, and that Mills’ present assertion is, shall we say, unreliable.

Game on, perhaps? That would be down to Heather Mills.


John Ruddy said...

The timing is also suspicious to me. Why has this come out now, when the phone hacking has been out in the open since 2006 (when Mulcaire and Goodman were convicted) or at least since 2009.

As despicable as Moron is (and god alone knows how he managed to get the CNN job), what has come out in no way implicates him whatsoever - in fact I would even say this isnt even new evidence.

Tim Fenton said...

The timing is a mystery, though perhaps Heather Mills' next move - if there is one - will inform us more.

Morgan got the CNN gig partly because he's done AGT and I suspect partly because CNN were desperate. And there's a shortage of hosts right now, with MSNBC looking to extend just about everybody's contract and CNN needing a replacement for Eliot Spitzer at 8pm Eastern.