Heather Mills, ex-wife of Paul McCartney, is the latest to jump into the Piers Morgan phone-hacking fray.
[*Updated with statement from Morgan below.]
In a BBC Newsnight interview set to air tonight in Britain, Mills alleges that whilst she and McCartney were still dating they had a big fight and that shortly thereafter she was contacted by a reporter for the Mirror Group who “started quoting verbatim the [apology] messages from my machine” that had been left there by McCartney.
Mills tells the BBC that she challenged the ‘senior’ journalist saying: “You’ve obviously hacked my phone and if you do anything with this story… I’ll go to the police.”
She says they responded: “OK, OK, yeah we did hear it on your voice messages, I won’t run it”.
Mills clarified that the ‘senior’ journalist she spoke to was not Piers Morgan, but that he was editor at the paper at the time this took place.
Here’s where it (once again, thanks to his own words) gets tricky for Morgan. In 2006 Morgan penned a column in the Daily Mail where he admitted to playing a phone message McCartney had left for Mills.
Stories soon emerged that the marriage was in trouble – 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.
The BBC says the phone message Morgan is referring to appears to be the one the Mirror reporter admitted to Mills had been hacked.
Says Mills: “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.”
The 2006 story was recently dug up and publicized by Piers Morgan nemesis Guy Fawkes, which presumably is what inspired Mills, not a person exactly known for shying away from any press, to go public with her version.
Morgan has repeatedly denied any knowledge of phone-hacking.
Update: Here’s the statement Morgan gave Gawker.
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.
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