Hacking allegedly rife at 'Mirror'
THE phone-hacking story took a new and dramatic turn yesterday as a former journalist on the UK's 'Daily Mirror' claimed that the practice was "endemic" at the newspaper during his time there and that he would be willing to testify to investigating authorities.
James Hipwell (45) said hacking at the 'Daily Mirror' was widespread and "seen as a bit of a wheeze".
Until now the hacking scandal has been confined to the 'News of the World' but there have been widespread claims of similar activities in other media organisations.
Mr Hipwell worked at the 'Mirror' under the editorship of Piers Morgan, now a presenter with CNN. He was made aware of the hacking because the paper's city desk, on which he worked, was next to the showbiz desk.
"They would call a celebrity with one phone and when it was answered they would then hang up. By that stage the other phone would be into the celebrity's voicemail and they would key in the code, 9999 or 0000. I saw that a lot."
Trinity Mirror, the publisher of the 'Daily Mirror', denied Mr Hipwell's claims.
Mr Hipwell was fired from the 'Mirror' in 2000 over the 'City Slickers' scandal in which he was accused of buying shares before tipping them in the paper. He was convicted of market manipulation and served 59 days in jail.
In an interview in 'GQ' magazine in 2007, Morgan discussed hacking with the model Naomi Campbell and said: "Loads of newspaper journalists were doing it."
Mr Hipwell said: "Piers was extremely hands on as an editor... I can't say 100pc that he knew about it. But it was inconceivable he didn't." (© Independent News Service)