Reports that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was punched in prison by fellow inmates have been slammed as “total fiction” and “all lies” by his former deputy Neil Wallis and friend Piers Morgan on Twitter.
Reports first appeared in the International Business Times (IBT) earlier this month and a follow up story detailing a further incident was published on 30 July. When approached by The Drum, journalist Dominic Gover, who wrote the pieces, said he could not comment on the story for legal reasons.
The IBT alleged that Coulson was “unpopular with fellow prisoners” and in one incident had been “punched” and was later “thrown down the stairs” by an angry inmate.
However, Coulson’s friend Piers Morgan took to Twitter to refute the claims while his former deputy, Neil Wallis, said the allegations were “total fiction”.
Various ridiculous reports claiming Andy Coulson's been assaulted in prison. All lies. Been treated very well by other inmates.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 31, 2014
For the record, it's utterly untrue that Andy Coulson has been attacked in prison - at any time. Reports of two incidents are total fiction. — Neil Wallis (@neilwallis1) August 1, 2014
Prior to the IBT’s reports about Coulson’s alleged troubles in prison, the publication quoted convicted fraudster Steve Dagworthy as saying the former editor could face issues with other inmates over the News of the World’s hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemail.
He told the title: “[This] thing is going to be a big problem because a young girl got killed and her phone was hacked, and false hope was given.”
Dagworthy also told the IBT that he had offered to assist Coulson in dealing with his incarceration but the former editor did not respond to the approach.
The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the story, saying their policy was not to comment on the circumstances of individual prisoners.
Andy Coulson, a former director director of government communications, was sentenced in June to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of conspiring to hack phones while he was editor of the News of the World.
Earlier this week, journalist Nick Davies of the Guardian - who broke the phone-hacking scandal story - launched his book, Hack Attack.