While Piers Morgan denies phone hacking verdict a former colleague unveils new details

Last week, a judge in London ruled that Piers Morgan knew of phone hacking happening at the Daily Mirror while he was editor in chief. A former employee seemingly confirmed it while talking to Sky News.

Piers Morgan phone hacking Prince Harry
© Dave Benett / GETTY IMAGES
Piers Morgan phone hacking Prince Harry

This was the big news on Friday 15 December 2023. As Reuters reports, a judge in London ruled that Prince ‘Harry had been a victim of phone-hacking and other unlawful behaviour by journalists at Mirror Group Newspapers’. Part of that ruling also involved TV presenter and journalist Piers Morgan who the judge said was likely to know about the ‘unlawful’ acts while working as editor in chief of the Daily Mirror.

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Piers Morgan has repeatedly denied being involved in any phone hacking and after the ruling on 15 December he continued denying any wrongdoing. However, on top of the ruling, a former employee of the Daily Mirror has spoken to Sky News seemingly confirming Morgan’s knowledge.

‘A bunch of flowers bugged with a listening device’

In an interview with Sky News, Dean Piper, a ‘former Mirror Group journalist’ spoke about how, during his time at The People, he was asked to deliver a bouquet of flowers to actress Tracy Shaw which included a listening device.

The worst thing I was ever asked - and it was probably ultimately what made me walk from my job at The People - involved Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw.
I was called over at one point and said that I was going to go to a spa and have a spa break, and I thought: 'Brilliant'.
They said you are going to have a bunch of flowers, and we're going to put a bug in it, and we're going to deliver it to Tracy Shaw, and we have booked the room right next door to her, and you're just going to stay up all night and write down everything that's gone on.

Dean Piper said that he refused before stating that other people at the magazine wouldn’t have minded doing it.

Piers Morgan likely to be aware

In his interview, Dean Piper was quizzed about Piers Morgan’s possible knowledge about the phone hacking. His former colleague is doubtful that Morgan’s denial is true. On Sky News he explained:

I mean, look, if you're a national newspaper editor, and you've got all of this power, and you're deciding what the narrative is for the Daily Mirror the first thing you're going to say is, where did that story come from?
So I find that quite amusing and kind of ridiculous because that's the first port of call as an editor and as a journalist, you want to know where the story came from.

During his interview, Piper also refers to the culture at the media group as a ‘Voldemort scenario’, comparing the phone hacking to the way people behave towards Voldemort in Harry Potter: they don’t speak of it.

However, he states that ‘everybody knew what was going on.’

The evidence against Piers Morgan presented in court

The ruling made on 15 December came after the judge was shown evidence and listened to several witnesses.

For instance, Reuters reports that David Seymour, ‘group political editor of the Daily Mirror from 1993 to 2007’, presented evidence that Morgan ‘played a voicemail in the newsroom of Paul McCartney’ who was singing to his wife. In The Guardian on 19 December, Archie Bland highlights that Morgan himself wrote that he ‘was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone’ in the Daily Mail in 2006.

Other witnesses have said that Morgan ‘boasted’ about the hacking of Prime Minister Tony Blair. A key witness was also royal author Omid Scobie. It is known that Morgan has been a vehement critic of the Sussexes and of Scobie who he branded liars. However, the judged believed otherwise and called him ‘a straightforward and reliable witness’.

Scobie ‘gave evidence’ that Piers Morgan was ‘reassured’ when a story he had about Kylie Minogue and her partner in 2002 came from a voicemail. Scobie appeared to have known about this while he was doing work experience at the group.

After the ruling, Prince Harry asked for the police to investigate ‘potential criminal offences’ while several people including a ‘top judge’ called for people who lied during this phone hacking trial to be prosecuted for perjury.

Read more:

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Sky News: Ex-Mirror journalist says he was asked to give Coronation Street star flowers containing listening device

Reuters: Piers Morgan knew about phone-hacking, UK court rules

Independent: Top judge says anyone who lied to phone hacking inquiry should be prosecuted for perjury

The Guardian: Piers Morgan will find many ways to deny phone hacking – but how long before his number is up?

Daily Mail: I'm sorry, Macca, for introducing you to this monster

Piers Morgan: Calls for the presenter to be re-investigated grow and he has Prince Harry to blame Piers Morgan: Calls for the presenter to be re-investigated grow and he has Prince Harry to blame