herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Ulrika phone may have been hacked for Sven affair scoop

PHONE HACKING may have led to a "scoop" revealing ex-England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson's affair with Ulrika Jonsson.

THE revelation came as editors of the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror conceded that phone hacking might have occurred at their newspapers.

The Leveson Inquiry into British press standards has heard that the interception of voicemail messages could have taken place in the newsrooms of both of the tabloids.



Honest

Richard Wallace, who has edited the Daily Mirror since 2004, said the practice might have taken place in the newsroom without his knowledge.

But he insisted that there are "significant positives" in tabloid journalism and he was confident that reporters who work at the newspaper acted within the code of practice.

He said it was possible that a story the newspaper ran about Sven Goran Eriksson's affair with Ulrika Jonsson in 2002 might have come from the interception of voicemail messages.

Mr Wallace, who has worked at the British paper for more than two decades, said the tip about the story came from the showbusiness department, adding: "I can't even recall who actually put the story forward, to be honest."

Mr Barr asked: "Is it possible, even if you weren't told, that it was phone hacking?" Mr Wallace replied: "It's possible, yes."

Piers Morgan, who was editor of the paper at the time, flatly denied intercepting Jonsson's messages when he appeared before the inquiry.

Asked if he knew about hacking at the paper Mr Wallace said: "Not to my knowledge."

Asked if it might have occurred without his knowledge he responded, "It might well have."

Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver told the hearing she was not aware of phone hacking at her newspaper but there was no guarantee that it had not occurred. Ms Weaver told the inquiry that the story the Daily Mirror published about Cherie Blair's pregnancy in 1999 came from public relations guru Max Clifford.

Ms Weaver told Lord Justice Leveson: "The information came in to the then editor, Piers Morgan, and I was his deputy and he asked me to write it. He purchased it from Max Clifford, I think that's a matter of record, and he told Mr Morgan where he received the original information from."

hnews@herald.ie

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