Piers Morgan ‘could have injected information from phone hacking into Prince Harry stories’ | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Piers Morgan could have “injected” information obtained by phone hacking into news stories about Prince Harry, a court heard.

The former editor of the Mirror was named by the Duke of Sussex’s lawyer, David Sherborne, during the ongoing trial at the High Court.

Harry, 38, alleges journalists at MGN (Mirror Group Newspapers) gathered private information about him by intercepting his personal voicemails when he was a teenager.

Prince Harry has given evidence from the witness box this week (AP)

During questioning of the Mirror’s then royal correspondent, Jane Kerr, Mr Sherborne highlighted articles that appeared to quote a private conversation between William and Harry and the private thoughts of Harry’s father, Charles.

The lawyer claimed these details were “information that would precisely have come from people listening to voicemail messages.”

Ms Kerr repeatedly denied she was involved in phone hacking and insisted she would not have used information that came from an illegal source. “I wouldn’t even have known how,” she added.

She told the court that her editor, Mr Morgan, occasionally contributed to stories. “He might say he had a been speaking to somebody at the palace,” Ms Kerr said. “He took a really genuine interest in royal stories.”

Mr Sherborne later suggested that “Mr Morgan may have injected information obtained from voicemails.” Ms Kerr replied: “I can’t say he didn’t but I think it would be highly unlikely.”

Newspaper stories about phone calls between Prince Harry and his then-girlfriend Chelsy Davy were also “deeply suspicious”, the lawyer claimed.

One article reported that Ms Davy had given Harry a “tongue-lashing” over the phone while he was staying at Highgrove. In another story, a reference to a call lasting 30 minutes was removed before it was published.

Mr Sherborne said it was cut out because it “gave the game away that there had been blagging of call data”. Ms Kerr said she could not remember the source of the information.

Piers Morgan has said he has ‘never told anybody to hack a phone’ (PA Archive)

Piers Morgan has said he has ‘never told anybody to hack a phone’ (PA Archive)

‌Before she finished giving evidence, the judge, Mr Justice Fancourt, asked her if she would ever “make up” quotes from sources for her stories. Ms Kerr replied: “Never. I would feel a certain responsibility to the palace. I relied on them for access and access would have been cut off otherwise.”

Harry’s claim against MGN is being heard alongside claims by Fiona Wightman, the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse, and the former Coronation Street actors Michael Le Vell and Nikki Sanderson.

‌Ms Sanderson is due to give evidence on Friday about “very hurtful” stories which appeared in the Sunday Mirror and the People newspapers between 2003 and 2009.

The Hollyoaks actress claims she became “paranoid” and was left wondering “who she could trust” as a result of the articles.

One article, headlined “Nikki’s fun and games with Man Utd star” wrongly suggested she was having an affair with footballer Paul Tierney, he said.

Another, about the end of her relationship with Jamie Meakin, made her angry because she wrongly believed he had sold the story to the Sunday Mirror.

She said a story describing her father as a “love rat” and a “4-times wed womaniser” was particularly upsetting. Ms Sanderson added in her witness statement: “This isn’t celebrity gossip, it’s my life.”

At the time Ms Sanderson did not suspect she was hacked and believed the newspapers were being tipped off by friends, colleagues or members of the public, the court heard.

She had not heard of the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking and only made her legal claim in 2020 after her Hollyoaks colleague Gary Lucy suggested she might have a case, the court heard.

The case continues.


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