A former crime editor of the News of the World who claimed the tabloid had a “culture of deceit and deception” has won his claim for unfair dismissal.
Peter Rose resigned from the paper last year following a row over a story buy-up deal involving a witness in the Damilola Taylor murder trial.
Rose was taken on by the NoW, then edited by Rebekah Wade, in November 2000 on a starting salary of £73,000 and says he was given the job because of his contacts in the police.
The former chief crime correspondent of the Daily Mail said he hoped to change the ethos of the NoW. But he claims there was a “disaster” when a deal to secure an interview with a 14-year-old murder witness in the Damilola murder trial fell through.
Rose said he was asked in April last year to buy up the exclusive rights to the story of “Witness Bromley”. He claims he was then told by assistant editor Greg Miskiw that the deal would be shared with The Mail on Sunday, which would pay half the agreed sum.
The Sunday Mirror was also reportedly bidding separately for the story. On 26 April last year, two days before the Bromley article was due to appear, Rose said he received a call con?rming that the NoW could have the story for £45,000.
The Stratford tribunal heard that at 11am the next day, Rose was told that the MoS had not in fact agreed to pay half of the interview fee. Rose said he learned that the NoW was now only willing to pay up to £17,500.
He said: “It should be noted that the Sunday Mirror was bidding as a rival at £36,000 to £40,000 for the exclusive story. Obviously Bromley was advised to reject that offer in favour of the bogus offer made for £45,000, unwittingly by myself on instruction by my senior editor, who knew they would not honour the agreement.
“I realised that the NoW never intended to buy the rights of the story. They simply wished to prevent other papers getting it, or make them pay a very in?ated price for it. The NoW allowed me to use my contacts and to make promises which they knew would not be kept.”
The Sunday Mirror printed Bromley’s story the following week. Rose resigned, giving the required six months’ notice, and was moved to other duties.
In cross examination by NoW lawyer Sarah Moore, Rose denied that he resigned because the paper had published a story about two of?cers involved in the Damilola trial having an affair. But he said he advised against running the story. Rose said of the NoW: “As well as breaching its own code of conduct, it showed a culture of deceit and deception that I witnessed stretching right to the top.”
The case was adjourned until 17 December for a remedy hearing to decide his award. Rose said afterwards: “I am delighted I was vindicated. I felt what happened was so wrong and the public needed to know some journalists have ethics.”
By Dominic Ponsford