I was mentally raped by publication of private diary, says Kate McCann
Published 17/11/2011 | 05:00
Kate McCann was left feeling "mentally raped" after the 'News of the World' published the private diary she had been keeping for her missing daughter, the Leveson inquiry into press standards in the UK heard yesterday.
The journal in which she had been recording her inner-most feelings, after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007, was so secret that not even her own husband had read it.
The diary was seized by the Portuguese police as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine.
But the inquiry was told that in September 2008, and without any warning, the 'News of the World', published the journal under the headline: 'Kate's Diary: in her own Words.'
Mr Sherborne, the lawyer representing the McCanns, along with 50 other victims of alleged press intrusion, said the experience had left her and the whole family feeling violated.
He asked Lord Justice Leveson: "How did the 'News of the World' get this from the police? Did they buy the information, obtain it through some form of deception? We may never know now."
Mr Sherborne went on: "The publication of this material with a picture on the front page suggesting she had provided this herself left her feeling mentally raped, her husband says, and is it any wonder? As if the McCanns didn't have enough to deal with."
Mr Sherborne also said that the singer Charlotte Church would explain how her life had been blighted on many occasions by intrusions from the tabloid press, particularly the 'News of the World'.
The inquiry is expected to hear how a story in 2005 under the headline, 'Church Three in a Bed Cocaine Shock' detailed an affair her father had been having.
Mr Sherborne said: "The effect on her parents, and particularly her mother, someone the press would call the innocent party, was absolutely devastating."
He said the story had been obtained through phone-hacking and shortly before it was published Ms Church's mother had attempted suicide.
Mr Sherborne went on: "In an act of great sensitivity, as Ms Church will explain, following the article published, the newspaper approached her mother directly and persuaded her to give them an exclusive, despite her fragile condition, as part of a Faustian pact that in return they would not return another lurid follow-up story about her husband's affair."
On the third day of the public inquiry, set up by British Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the hacking scandal, Mr Sherborne launched a searing attack on the tabloid press in Britain.
He told the inquiry that phone-hacking at the 'News of the World' was more like an "industrial revolution" than the "cottage industry" as had previously been suggested by Robert Jay, counsel for the inquiry.
But he said the inquiry was about more than just the illegal interception of voicemails.
He said his clients would one -by-one paint a vivid picture of the "despicable" actions of some tabloid journalists, which had led to a breakdown in the trust between the press and the public in Britain.
There were possibly 10 stories in each edition of the 'News of the World' which were the product of phone-hacking alone, even leaving aside the other dark arts practised by the newspaper, he said.
While he recognised this was "speculation", he added: "There is other evidence which suggests higher figures."
The 'Harry Potter' author JK Rowling is also expected to give evidence to the inquiry where she will describe her battle for privacy.
Mr Sherborne said: "The family have still photographers and press camped outside her house. Her young children have had notes placed in their school bag.
"Pictures of them have been snatched whilst they've been enjoying quality time on holiday.
"She will explain the very real corrosive effect that this has had on her children."
The actor Hugh Grant is expected to tell the inquiry how in recent months Tinglan Hong, his former girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, has been subjected to terrifying harassment from paparazzi photographers. (© Daily Telegraph, London)