Burrell scoop increases Mirror sales by 250,000

Daily Mirror: sales rocketed

A sensational series of royal revelations are believed to have pushed up sales of the Daily Mirror by 250,000 copies a day this week.

The paper went to extraordinary lengths to guard Monday’s front-page exclusive revealing that Princess Diana predicted her own death in a letter 10 months before the Paris car crash of 1997. And throughout this week the paper published further extracts from a book written by former royal butler Paul Burrell.

Mirror editor Piers Morgan said: “The biggest thing to me is how we kept this secret.

“The answer is we didn’t have that many people who knew about it. I was aware from last January that Paul Burrell wanted to do a book and Steve Dennis, who brought in the original scoop for us, has written it with him.

“Steve has been working on this secretly for 10 months and not even his colleagues knew what he was doing. We managed to keep this book secret until Monday morning – even though they’ve now printed millions of copies around the world.”

The Mirror avoided another paper putting together a “spoiler” in one of its later editions by keeping the Diana story secret until the last minute.

Morgan said: “We spoofed it so we did 40,000 copies with a normal paper and by then we’d prepared the first nine pages in a secret room, produced by a small team of people. And we just put it on the press at 10pm – though we had a slight scare when it looked like Tony Blair might be leaving us.

“It was a stunning operation masterminded by Conor Hanna, our news editor, and Marcus Partington, the head of the legal team here.

“Sarah Vaughan-Brown from our PR department hit the phones at 3.30am – which was after everybody else’s print runs had finished – and her job was to brief every single news and radio station in the country and line up from 6am an interview schedule.

“We got a clean run at the TV and it generated such huge interest that we had a phenomenal sales day.”

He added: “To have a handwritten note from Diana predicting effectively her own death is about as big as it gets.

In terms of scoops it’s about as big as I’ve been involved in.

“You’ve got the biggest star of our lifetime, made even bigger by her death, you’ve got the ongoing conspiracy theories and then you’re confronted with a document which predicts her death in exactly that circumstance.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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