Heather Mills claims Piers Morgan knew Mirror reporter hacked her phone

Dylan Stableford
August 3, 2011

Another day, another accusation about Piers Morgan in the phone hacking saga--this one courtesy of Paul McCartney's ex-wife, Heather Mills.

Mills told the BBC on Wednesday that when Morgan was the editor of the Daily Mirror, in 2001, a senior employee from the Mirror Group admitted to hacking a voicemail message left for her by McCartney after she threatened to tell police about the hack. While Mills said it was not clear whether the confessed hacker worked for Morgan directly, Morgan knew that the person in question had accessed her account; indeed, Morgan boasted about the resulting recording in a 2006 essay. ("I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone," Morgan wrote. "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.")

"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," Mills told BBC's "Newsnight."

Morgan--who said last week he would "be making no further comment on this Hackgate nonsense"--issued a lengthy statement in response to Mills' claims:

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.

Elsewhere in Hackgate, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the investigation into allegations that News Corp. hacked phones of 9/11 victims is ongoing, and that he plans to disclose as much information with the victims' families as he can when he meets with them on Aug. 24.

"I'll certainly want to hear what they have to say with regard to their concerns and, to the extent that I can share information with them, I will," Holder said. "I will try to reassure them that this is something we are taking seriously."