Steve Coogan has said he believes phone hacking took place for “up to 15 years” at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People newspapers.
Coogan made the claim in a statement outside court today after Trinity Mirror agreed to pay him a six-figure sum for damages over 62 news stories the actor claimed had been obtained through unlawful means – including hacking his voicemails.
The Alan Partridge star also said editors and executives at Trinity Mirror, including former chief executive Sly Bailey and ex Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan had “not yet been subject to proper scrutiny”.
Morgan, now co-presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, was editor of the newspaper from 1995 to 2004.
He said: “It is my belief that hacking at the Mirror’s papers took place for up to 15 years. Journalists at all three papers – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – and successive editors hacked the phones of thousands of people, not just celebrities and public figures, but their families and people who just happened to be in the news.
“The way they have behaved is a disgrace to the record of what was a fine newspaper publisher and an insult to the memory of [renowned ex Daily Mirror editorial director] Hugh Cudlipp.”
Mirror Group Newspapers, part of publisher Trinity Mirror, has apologised to Coogan for hacking his phone and for concealing the “unlawful activities” carried out against him until years later.
Coogan said: “Covering up the wrongdoing to stop the truth coming out was even worse. But failure to act on warnings and reports of illegality from at least 2002 onwards has led to the criminal intrusion to the lives of thousands of people and, due to the costs of paying lawyers and damages, jobs of scores of journalists.”
He added: “It’s my view that editors and executives such as Sly Bailey, Piers Morgan, [ex legal director] Paul Vickers, [ex Sunday People editor] Tina Weaver and [ex Daily Mirror editor] Richard Wallace have not yet been subject to proper scrutiny taking into account what has emerged since the first half of the [Leveson] inquiry.
“The second part of the Leveson Inquiry must find out who hacked, who knew about it, who covered it up or turned a blind eye. The Leveson Inquiry must be completed now as the government has promised.”
Coogan said: “I think the fact that some people, according to one judge, were economical with the truth at the Leveson Inquiry should be of great concern to the Government.”
Coogan also said he had pursued his case against Trinity Mirror to help people “who don’t have a public profile”, adding: “It’s very difficult to take on national newspapers because they wield a very huge baton that they are happy to use when it suits them.”
Picture: Hacked Off