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Ex-editor Piers Morgan feels the heat as Heather Mills says Mirror hacked her

By Oliver Wright

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan was under intense pressure last night after Sir Paul McCartney's ex-wife claimed a journalist had bragged to her about hacking sensitive voicemail messages left on her phone.

Heather Mills said she received a call from a Mirror Group Newspapers executive in 2001 "quoting verbatim" voicemails left by the singer after the couple had a row.

Mr Morgan has always said that he knew nothing about phone hacking but the voicemails appear to be the same as those he later admitted hearing.

In a 2006 newspaper article, Mr Morgan referred to hearing a recorded message that Sir Paul had left for Ms Mills.

Mr Morgan wrote: "At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang We Can Work It Out."

Last night Ms Mills said: "There was absolutely no honest way that Piers Morgan could have obtained that tape that he has so proudly bragged about unless they had gone into my voice messages." But the journalist who contacted her was not Mr Morgan, she said.

Ms Mills told BBC's Newsnight that she had had suspicions her voicemail had been intercepted.

"I wondered why (my messages) had already been listened to when it said 'heard messages'. I said 'you've obviously hacked my phone and if you do anything with this story I'll go to the police'."

She said the unnamed journalist responded: "OK, OK, yeah we did hear it on your voice messages, I won't run it."

Parent group Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People, said its journalists work within the law.

Mr Morgan was not available for comment. Newsnight also claimed that footballer Rio Ferdinand and TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson believe they were hacked by Trinity Mirror journalists.

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