Byline Investigates Big News Part 20: The Bombshell Paper-trail that Puts Murdoch’s Sun on the Defensive
By Graham Johnson
Editor, Byline Investigates
AN EDITOR and Deputy Editor of The Sun repeatedly used private investigators to illegally obtain people’s private data for stories, according to damaging new evidence that undermines the paper’s denials of wrongdoing to the Leveson Inquiry, Byline can reveal.
Dominic Mohan, 48, and Victoria Newton, 45, are named multiple times in thousands of documents which Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers has been forced to hand over to claimants alleging phone hacking at the tabloid.
The pair – who soared into The Sun’s hottest seats having founded careers as Cool Britannia’s self-style King and Queen of ‘showbiz’ journalism – utilised the services of notorious Fleet Street private investigator Lloyd Hart.
The invoices from 2002 totalling £299.63 reveal that inquiries were conducted into celebrity couple Jack Ryder (ex-EastEnders actor) and Kym Marsh ( Hear’Say singer) and Jo O’Meara from the pop group S Club 7.
Marsh and Ryder were both victims of hacking in unrelated activity by The Sun’s sister paper, the defunct News of the World (NotW).
TDI, which later traded as Express Locate International (ELI), has been identified in a court judgement as a company that supplied mobile phone numbers, billing data and pin codes for voicemail access to journalists that hacked on Mirror Group Newspapers’ titles.
Mohan, who edited the paper from 2009 to 2012, told the Leveson Inquiry that he had never knowingly used the services of private investigators at the paper.
The allegations of serious and systematic wrongdoing at The Sun – which NGN is strenuously denying – echo those leading to the closure of the NotW in 2011 after 168 years in print, which caused the failure of a bid by the Murdoch family to take over pay TV giant Sky.
At the moment, a new bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to take over Sky is being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority.
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