Thursday, February 9, 2012

#Leveson Inquiry : Heather Mills Denies Playing Voicemail Messages To Piers Morgan

The former wife of Sir Paul McCartney never authorised former News of
the World editor Piers Morgan, or anybody else, to listen to her
voicemails, she told the inquiry into press standards today.

Chat show host Morgan has previously told the inquiry he listened to a voicemail message left to Mills by Sir Paul, but refused to say when or where he heard it because he wanted to protect a "source".

Today Ms Mills said she had never authorised Morgan, or anybody, to access or listen to her voicemails, and neither had she ever played a recording to the former editor.

"I couldn't quite believe that he would even try to insinuate, a man that has written nothing but awful things about me for years, would relish in telling the court if I had played a voicemail message to him," she said.

Ms Mills told the inquiry that in early 2001 she and Sir Paul had argued about a trip she was planning to Gujurat, and while she stayed with a friend in Middlesex he left a series of messages on her voicemail.

"In the morning, when I woke up, there were many messages, but they were all saved messages which I did not quite understand, because normally they wouldn't be but I didn't think too much of it.

"I thought I must have pressed a wrong button.

"There were about 25 messages all asking for forgiveness of what had happened.

"One of them said, 'please forgive me' and sang a little ditty of one of his songs on the voicemail.

"So that afternoon I went back and all was forgiven."

She told the hearing she had never recorded the messages and deleted them straight away.

But she said she was then called by a former Trinity Mirror employee - who the inquiry heard was not a Daily Mirror journalist, nor anybody working under the supervision of Morgan - saying they had heard a recording of the message.

"I said, 'there's no way that you could know that unless you have been listening to my messages'," she told the inquiry. "And he laughed."
She said she threatened to take action if the story was published, and it wasn't.

But in 2006, in a piece in the Daily Mail, Morgan referred to having listened to the message.

Giving evidence in December, Morgan told the inquiry he would not disclose a source who played him a tape of a message that Sir Paul left Mills.

He said: "I am not going to discuss where I heard it or who played it to me.

"I don't think it's right. In fact the inquiry has already stated to me you don't expect me to identify sources."

Lord Justice Leveson told him the only person who would be able to lawfully listen to the message was Mills or somebody authorised on her behalf.

He told Morgan: "I am perfectly happy to call Lady McCartney to give evidence as to whether she authorised you to listen to her voicemails.

"She may say she did in which case you're not compromising anybody, but if she didn't then we can proceed on the premise that it's somebody else, can't we."

Asked by counsel for the inquiry Robert Jay QC: "Did you authorise Mr Morgan to access your voicemail?", she replied "never".

He asked: "Did you authorise Mr Morgan to listen to your voicemail?"
"Never ever," she answered.

Mr Jay also asked: "Have you ever played to Mr Morgan or authorised him to listen to a recording of this or any other voicemail left on your messaging system?", she replied "Never, never".

And asked if she had ever done this to anybody, she answered: "No".