By Editor–June 8th, 2023.
In testimony in London’s High Court today, former Royal Editor of the Daily Mirror Jane Kerr made sensational claims that former Editor Piers Morgan would “inject” additional information into her stories without explaining to her where it came from.
Jane Kerr was giving evidence in Prince Harry’s hacking case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).
He claims the papers unlawfully obtained private information about him, which MGN denies.
Mr Morgan has consistently said no illegal newsgathering happened on his watch.
Ms Kerr, who worked for the Daily Mirror’s royal team from 1996 to 2007, told the High Court that Mr Morgan would add snippets of information into stories she had authored.
She said he might have been speaking to “someone at the palace” but she would not know who.
Prince Harry alleges about 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 by MGN – the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the People – contained information gathered using unlawful methods.
A sample of 33 stories are being scrutinized during this case, a number of which were written by Ms Kerr.
Prince Harry’s barrister, David Sherborne, put it to her that this was private information which could have been obtained from listening to voicemail messages, asking: “Where did you get the quotes from Ms Kerr?”
She repeatedly said that she could not remember the sources of stories published decades ago.
The questioning has focused on additional details added by Ms Kerr while following up on stories already in other papers.
In March 2002, she wrote about Prince Harry catching glandular fever, reporting that “Harry’s friends and William have teased him about the illness because it is spread through saliva, usually by kissing”.
The prince told the court during his evidence that these suggestions were upsetting and embarrassing at the time as he was still at school.
“You’re suggesting some Palace spokesperson would have casually tossed it to you as a little morsel to add colour to your story?” Mr Sherborne asked.
When she said she did not know where it had come from and could easily have been a “throwaway line”, Mr Sherborne said: “That’s total speculation, isn’t it?”
Ms Kerr said she could not remember the details but would not have got it through any illegal means.
Mr Sherborne asked: “Or was this something Mr Morgan injected into the article?”
“Possibly but I just don’t know,” Ms Kerr replied.
Speaking to othe BBC ahead of the trial, Mr Morgan said: “I’ve never hacked a phone. I’ve never told anybody to hack a phone.”
He has poured scorn on Prince Harry’s decision to go to court, telling reporters: “I wish him luck with his privacy campaign and look forward to reading about it in his next book.”
Sources: BBC News, Sky News, agencies.