- Minogue and Moss were targets over six years
- Stories contain the hallmarks of unlawful information gathering
- Their associates, including their boyfriends, were also high-priority marks
- Moss’s rockstar ex-lover Pete Doherty was named
By Graham Johnson
Editor, Byline Investigates
DAILY MAIL journalist Richard Simpson routinely targeted top stars and sports personalities with unlawful information gathering.
Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss were on Simpson’s hit list, according to research by Byline Investigates.
The private lives of golfer Colin Montgomerie and his family were also intruded upon.
Kate Moss’ rockstar ex-boyfriend Pete Doherty was also named in stories that contain call data information.
The findings are derived from an in-depth analysis of the ex-Showbusiness News Editor’s bylined articles over seven years.
In Part 1 of this series, Byline Investigates revealed the identity of a Daily Mail whistleblower, who told how Simpson repeatedly made references to using unlawful information gathering in newsroom conversation.
Part 2 exposed how Simpson used a notorious private investigator firm, named in the High Court as being linked to phone hacking.
In today’s fourth instalment, our reporters add further weight to evidence of a criminal conspiracy at the heart Britain’s most powerful middle-market newspaper, based on the targeting of its readers’ favourite celebrities.
The stars’ close associates, such as their wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, were also high-value victims of Simpson’s intrusion.
He spied on loved ones, in a bid to find a backdoor into the private lives of celebrities.
His stories are littered with suspicious references to phone calls and messages that point to the use of illegally-obtained call data.
Two of Kylie Minogue’s ex-boyfriends became the focus of Simpson’s illegal techniques, including Olivier Martinez and Andres Segura Velencosco.
The current Chairman of Associated News is Paul Dacre – but he was the Editor of the Daily Mail at the time Simpson worked there.
Dacre infamously told the Leveson Inquiry that phone hacking did not take place at the Daily Mail.
He also claimed that the Daily Mail stopped using private investigators in 2006.
However, Byline Investigates has repeatedly revealed that both claims aren’t true.
This is the 54th story that we have written about criminality at Associated News, and you can read the full archive on Byline Times.
By giving the wrong evidence to a public inquiry, Dacre is likely to have broken the law, an offence under the Inquiries Act 2005, punishable by up to 51 weeks in jail.
Byline Investigates commissioned researchers to independently analyse the stories that Simpson wrote between 2004 and 2011.
The analysts found suspicious articles, that they concluded were likely to be the result of unlawful information gathering.
One researcher found six suspicious stories.
He deemed that three of the six articles were highly-suspicious.
All three highly-suspicious articles were about Kylie Minogue.
French actor Olivier Martinez dated Minogue between 2003 and 2007.
But in an exclusive story in July 2007, Simpson revealed private information, and the fact that they had started texting each other after an earlier split.
Seven months later Simpson revealed how the estranged couple met up in Paris, stating that ‘their meeting followed weeks of calls and texts.’
This kind of call data – effectively obtaining the phone bills of Minogue and/or Martinez, was routinely supplied by private investigator agency ELI, a firm which Simpson used.
Spanish male model Andres Velencosco dated Minogue for five years between 2008 and 2013.
But when their relationship hit a low in June 2010, Richard Simpson revealed intimate details about their private lives in an exclusive story, stating that a ‘source said the pair had been in touch on the phone.’
According to lawyers and experts, one tell-tale clue that often indicates call monitoring are references in stories to the frequency of calls between two people: either that a couple ‘regularly speak’ on the phone, or that they haven’t spoken over a period of time.
In August 2007, Richard Simpson wrote that on/off lovers Kate Moss and Pete Doherty ‘had not even exchanged a word in weeks.’
However, in the following paragraph, he wrote: ‘During her (Kate Moss’) holiday in Spain, Pete was calling her on the mobile incessantly. He could not get through and the line kept going dead.
‘She eventually called him one evening and since that conversation they have been continually on the phone.’
The researchers found suspicious paragraphs in stories about Colin Montgomerie, containing further references to phone data, worthy of careful and closer examination and unusual levels of private information.
In December 2004, Simpson revealed how Montgomerie had ended his relationship with Spanish model Ines Sastre by phone call.
Further down in the story, Simpson told how Montgomerie’s ex-wife Eimear ‘sent a series of text messages threatening to never let the children see him if she was around.’
A spokesman on behalf of the Daily Mail said:
‘This article is based on nothing more than the surmise of anonymous ‘researchers’. As we have said repeatedly, neither Richard Simpson nor the Daily Mail has ever been involved in phone-hacking. Mr Dacre stands by everything he told the Leveson Inquiry.’
More follows in our next installment of MailBOMB Part 23.