Cracknell admits copying colleague's contacts

Cracknell: "irresistible temptation"

Sunday Telegraph deputy political editor David Cracknell, about to become the Sunday Times political editor, was asked to leave the office last Saturday after he admitted hacking into a laptop containing the contacts of political editor Joe Murphy.

Murphy, said by sources to be extremely angry after discovering the files had been tampered with, confronted Cracknell before witnesses.  Cracknell initially denied the accusation but later owned up. He has not been back.

"Presented with irresistible temptation and blinded by my own ambition, I stepped over the line of what is acceptable behaviour," Cracknell told Press Gazette: "On reflection, I deeply regret it and I have sent my sincere apologies to Joe Murphy and Dominic Lawson [Sunday Telegraph editor]."

He and Murphy have worked together for two and half years and it was Murphy’s refusal of the job at the Sunday Times which gave Cracknell an opening. He was due to leave The Sunday Telegraph at the end of this week.

One senior journalist at The Sunday Telegraph said: "It was a terrible breach of trust, a personal betrayal at a professional level."

Cracknell’s friends, however, say it was an incredibly stupid thing for him to have done, but one added: "Who wouldn’t be tempted to have a peek?" He was not thought to have made use of any of the contact numbers.

By Jean Morgan

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