The Eastern Daily Press claims to have blown apart Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan’s public interest defence for making a payment of £125,000 to killer Tony Martin.
This week it obtained an in-depth interview with Martin without paying him a penny. It is the second time Martin has spoken to the newspaper for nothing – the ?rst was three years ago when he spoke to a Daily Press reporter for six hours.
Morgan is currently being investigated by the Press Complaints Commission because the Editors’ Code of Practice forbids paying criminals for their stories.
In a leader comment on Wednesday, Eastern Daily Press editor Peter Franzen said: “Today’s interview gives the lie to the Mirror’s claims that the only way to air the implications of the Martin case was to pay him more than £100,000 for his story.
“The Eastern Daily Press offered no payment to Martin for his words – a point that’s not lost on the Press Complaints Commission which is currently investigating the Mirror deal.” He adds: “The code is not something that any newspaper should choose to ignore or abide by as suits its purpose. All that remains is for the PCC to come to the only possible conclusion and rule against the Mirror.” Martin signed an exclusive deal to talk to the Mirror two months before his release. The Eastern Daily Press is the ?rst newspaper to get an interview with Martin since that deal was signed.
Reporter Nicki Walker found out where Martin was staying and got a message to him that the EDP wanted to talk to him. Martin phoned her up and they agreed to meet around the corner from his home, Bleak House, where much of the national press were camped out. Franzen said: “We were delighted to get the interview and Nicki Walker did a great job. She cultivated the story and got the breakthrough.”
By Dominic Ponsford