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Mirror reporter 'admits Mills hack'

A senior Mirror Group journalist has admitted hacking voicemails left for Heather Mills by Sir Paul McCartney, Ms Mills has claimed.

The journalist made the admission in 2001, Ms Mills told BBC2's Newsnight programme.

Sir Paul's former wife said that after he left the voicemail, the journalist rang her quoting parts of the recording. When challenged about how they knew what was said, Ms Mills said they admitted the message had been hacked.

The BBC, who declined to name the journalist allegedly involved, said it was not Piers Morgan, editor of the Daily Mirror at the time. Mr Morgan issued a statement describing Ms Mills' claims as "unsubstantiated".

Ms Mills told the programme that in early 2001 she had a row with her then-boyfriend Sir Paul, who later left a conciliatory message on her voicemail while she was away in India.

According to Ms Mills, a senior Mirror Group Newspapers journalist rang her and "started quoting verbatim the messages from my machine". She said she challenged the journalist, saying: "You've obviously hacked my phone and if you do anything with this story ... I'll go to the police." She said they responded: "OK, OK, yeah we did hear it on your voice messages, I won't run it."

The message in question appeared to be the same as one which Mr Morgan later admitted to listening to, a spokesman for the programme said. In a 2006 article in the Daily Mail, Mr Morgan referred to hearing a recorded message which Sir Paul had left for Ms Mills, the spokesman said.

In a statement issued through CNN, Mr Morgan said: "Heather Mills has made unsubstantiated claims about a conversation she may or may not have had with a senior executive from a Trinity Mirror newspaper in 2001."

He said the BBC had confirmed to him that the executive was not employed by the Daily Mirror, adding he had no knowledge of any conversation any executive from other Trinity Mirror newspapers "may or may not have had with Heather Mills".

Mirror Group Newspapers is part of Trinity Mirror plc which publishes many titles including the Daily and Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and People. A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: "Our position is clear. All our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct."


From Belfast Telegraph