Clarence Mitchell on phone hacking
La question du piratage des téléphones
Clarence Mitchell on phone hacking
BBC Radio Leicester
Ben Jackson - Radio Leicester header
Last broadcast on Wednesday, 06:00 on BBC Leicester.
Spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, Clarence Mitchell, tells Ben Jackson he has spoken to detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking. He believes his phone may have been hacked in 2008.
(from 1:23:08 on the BBC Radio Leicester link above)
By Nigel Moore
Ben Jackson: Now, this morning, errr... we've been hearing about further developments in the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The father of one of the victims of the July the 7th London bombings says he's been told by police that his phone may well have been hacked. Questions are also being raised by Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman of Madeleine McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry, of course, from Rothley. Clarence is on the phone. Clarence, good morning.
Clarence Mitchell: Good morning, Ben.
Ben Jackson: Just run us through, first of all, why you think your phone may have been hacked.
Clarence Mitchell: Well, in a nutshell, errr... we were told, errr... late last year that there was growing concern that, errm... phones, either Kate or Gerry's phones, or... or my phones, people around them, may well have been the subject of hacking interest, errr... if you think about it, we were at the centre of a major tabloid storm, errr... in 2007 and 2008, errr... and frankly it wouldn't have surprised us if that was the case but we had no proof. However, errm... we asked our phone operators to check our records, errr... what records were left, errm... and, errm... in my case, Vodafone came back a few weeks later with concrete proof that there had been at least two attempts to gain access, via the customer services, errm... people, to my number and to gain information about it, complete with spurious claims about being involved in the McCann case or, errr... bogus text messages being sent to my phone saying third parties had been trying to access my voicemail, so I have some demonstrable proof of something odd happening on my number, errr... I immediately contacted the police and, errr... they too took it seriously enough to send two officers, from Operation Weeting, the current police inquiry into the whole saga, errr... and the police now have a full statement and all the information from me and are currently investigating. So, that's what this is based on. I can't say who it was, I don't know if it was a particular paper or a particular individual but I have to assume, given what was happening at the time, that it was most likely journalistic in its intent but I am not pointing the finger at any particular paper this morning; I simply don't know yet.
Ben Jackson: Well, I was going to say, I mean, obviously the... the... it would not be an unreasonable assumption to draw to say that Kate and... if your phone was... was hacked in, or attempted to be hacked into, then... then presumably attempts were made on Kate and Gerry's phones?
Clarence Mitchell: Well, one would assume that and, as I say, we asked the phone operators for their records as well, errm... and, so far, from what we've been told, there appears to be no untoward activity on their accounts, errr... this, of course, is only the records of calls made to customer service people; for instance, if you have a handset, or pay a bill, or whatever, the operator makes a note of your enquiry and that's... those... those are the records we've seen because they exist for many years. Errr... what we haven't seen are full records for all of our ingoing and outcoming... outgoing phone calls; the phone companies only keep those a year. Now, because it was... we were only alerted to the possibility last year, of course, that was three years after the height of the story and, errm... I'm afraid we were told that much of the... the early records, errm... simply don't exist anymore, errr... but, as I say, we felt it was important to let the police know about the information that we did have and, errr... they are now acting upon it but, so far, there is nothing to suggest that Kate and Gerry's phones have been subjected to any, errr... illegal attention, at this stage,
Ben Jackson: Now, you've been... you've been a journalist; you were a BBC journalist for a long time, you've worked within the media, you know, for ever. Have you ever come across a situation where there's a... a media storm about the media, like this? I mean, the hacking, errr... scandal's been going on since, what, 2007. Errr... have we reached a tipping point?
Clarence Mitchell: Errm... In a way, it feels like it, you're right. I mean, the media loves, in many respects, to talk about nothing else but the media itself; there's a lot of navel gazing goes on; a lot of this is a debate that is of interest to journalists and politicians but precious little interest to people outside of that... that immediate world. Errr... in this case, though, you're right, this has been going on, there is a corrosive effect for, errm... public trust, if you like, in... in the veracity of journalism as a whole, errr... it damages faith in newspapers and some British journalism is... is absolutely the finest in the world, equally some of it is... is amongst the low... the worst in the world, I'm afraid. Errm... this particular revelation concerning Milly Dowler's, errm... phone's messages being deleted to make space for more is utterly appalling, errr... and I say that as a BBC reporter. I covered Milly, errr... from the off, for the whole six months before her body was found, errr... and I knew the pain that the family were going through myself, having... having met the Dowler's on several occasions and for... for that to be compounded by simply what was essentially, it seems, a journalistic fishing exercise is truly appalling and it's absolutely right that from the most senior executive down to the most junior reporter, people are... are disgusted by this, errr... and I'm afraid that... that those responsible of crossing the line completely, not only of legality but morality as well, errr... really should face, errm... all the punishment they deserve.
Ben Jackson: Clarence, thank you for coming onto the Breakfast Show this morning, thank you. That's Clarence Mitchell, errm... Kate and Gerry McCann's spokesperson joining us here on BBC Radio Leicester. We put a call into him, errr... just earlier this morning and you've heard what he's had to say on this. He suspects that, errr... his phone was hacked into. Who by, errr... is not clear, of course, and he wouldn't like to say which particular paper, if indeed it was a paper but, errm... he certainly has been contacted by the police, errm... and seems to have evidence that his phone... at least there was an attempt, several attempts made, to hack into his phone, errm... we'll bring you more details on that, of course, through the day here on BBC Radio Leicester and as more details ev... emerge on what's... errr... I mean there are more revelations coming out almost on an hourly basis, errr... you'll hear them here first, of course, on BBC Radio Leicester. It's 7:32.