The phone hacking heat was turned up on Piers Morgan last night, as the Daily Mirror became the first non-Murdoch title to face court action over illegal voicemail intercepts.
Former England manager Sven Goran Errikson, the former nanny of David Beckham’s children, a Coronation Street actress and former footballer Garry Flitcroft are suing the Mirror and the People at the High Court.
The claims lodged at the allege “breach of confidence and misuse of private information” in relation to the “interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts” – the same charge sheet that sunk the News of the World.
Morgan, when he appeared before the Leveson Inquiry via video link from New York last year, claimed:
“Not a single person has made any formal or legal complaint against the Daily Mirror for phone hacking.”
With Trinity Mirror last year insisting:
“Trinity Mirror’s position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.”
The pain caused by tabloid intrusion was laid bare by Flitcroft, one of those now suing the Mirror, in his testimony before Leveson last November. His father’s life plunged into depression after newspapers intruded into his private life in 2002, unable to go to games to watch his son “because the chants were so bad”. Mr Flitcroft committed suicide six years later.
Flitcroft told the Leveson Inquiry:
“Suffering from anxiety and depression you’ve got to have something in your life and his life was watching me play football… I would say over the years his depression got worse because he wasn’t watching me play football.”
“There’s no reason why my private life should be in the public interest. If I’d been done for match-fixing or taking cocaine then that’s in the public interest.”
Watch his moving testimony about the death of his father:
The scandal of tabloid excess and phone hacking was never restricted to the Murdoch empire alone – it’s time for all those who indulged in these illegal tactics (and continue to harass and intrude into people’s lives) to face justice.