Dossier on 'problem child' led to Palace deal

Spoilers from the Mail, People and Mirror

Every time a story, a set of pictures or information on Prince Harry came in to the News of the World over the past year, investigations editor Mazher Mahmood went back over it to talk again to the people involved, reinvestigate and "get the truth".

"We built up this huge dossier, all sorts of different allegations. It painted a picture of not just an experiment with drugs, but of a real problem child who has real lifestyle and behavioural problems," said a News of the World source.

"It was clear by what appeared that some kind of deal was cut with St James’s Palace for us to run the story."

Rebekah Wade herself went to the Palace on Wednesday of last week to put the dossier before Prince Charles’s team of Stephen Lamport, Mark Bolland, Colleen Harris and Mark Dyer, an aide to Princes William and Harry.

News that the paper had something on Harry started leaking early. Because other papers had heard similar tales about the Prince, they went into their files and started putting together spoilers.

The problem for the NoW was that it printed 4.5 million copies of its first edition early on Saturday evening before its rivals. It watched powerless as the copies came out at 8.05pm and every other paper ripped off the exclusive – even, in some cases, putting "exclusive" on their stories. The NoW didn’t have the option of running a spoof because it knew everyone else was gearing up to run similar stories.

"All the other papers ran every single, solitary quote from the NoW and they are still running it," said Wade.

"But it was a brilliant, fantastic scoop from a great team effort. We had Maz and Clive [Goodman] working on it with the backbench.

"Assistant editor Paul Nicholas must have written about 900 different versions. It was great, old-fashioned journalism. Maz is astounding, the way he gets people to talk to him."

By Jean Morgan

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