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Leveson Inquiry

Piers Morgan: His own phone WAS hacked says sacked journalist


By Noel Young, Correspondent

December 21, 2011 | 3 min read

It's not over yet for Piers Morgan! Today a former colleague told the Leveson inquiry that Morgan - now a CNN star in America - was "an extremely hands-on editor in London " who must have known that phone hacking was rife at his paper".

Piers Morgan: hands-on editor

The claim came from business journalist James Hipwell who said voicemail interception was "an everyday activity at the Daily Mirror" - and he revealed that Morgan's own phone had been hacked by a colleague who wanted to help Hipwell fight disciplinary proceedings.

Hipwell admitted he could understand why people thought he had an axe to grind against Morgan.

Both were investigated in an inquiry into market manipulation. Morgan, who bought shares later tipped in the paper, was cleared of wrongdoing, but Hipwell, convicted in 2005, was jailed for two months. Hipwell said he always believed that his ex-boss had been as guilty as he was.

On phone hacking, Hipwell told the inquiry that while he had no direct evidence that the editor was involved in the practice, it was impossible to imagine that Morgan had been kept in the dark.

"Nothing happened at the newspaper without him knowing," Hipwell told the inquiry.

Hipwell said one of his colleagues had hacked Morgan's own phone to try to help Hipwell during disciplinary proceedings against him (he was later sacked by the Mirror)

"One of the showbusiness journalists who felt I was being treated unfairly by management offered to hack into Mr Morgan's voicemail on my behalf to try to find out any information that would help my case," he said. "I clearly remember him doing it."

Morgan, 46, has previously dismissed Hipwell's phone hacking claims as the "unsubstantiated allegations of a liar and convicted criminal."

Meanwhile a 52-year-old woman police officer has been arrested as part of an investigation into bribes paid out by journalists. The woman who has not been named is the first police officer to be arrested.

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