'Mirror' editor sacked in row over fake photos

Piers Morgan was sacked as editor of the
Daily Mirror yesterday after his employers said he had fallen victim to a "calculated and malicious hoax" in publishing fake pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqis.

Piers Morgan was sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror yesterday after his employers said he had fallen victim to a "calculated and malicious hoax" in publishing fake pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqis.

The dramatic development was the culmination of a two-week stand-off in which Mr Morgan had attempted to "brazen out" growing claims that the photographs, supposedly depicting members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR), were staged. But last night the owners of the paper, Trinity Mirror, said in a statement it would "be inappropriate" for Mr Morgan to continue in the post that he has occupied for the past nine years.

The company, which had come under pressure from its shareholders to take action, made an unreserved apology for printing the pictures. It said: "The Daily Mirror published in good faith photographs which it absolutely believed were genuine images of British soldiers abusing an Iraqi prisoner.

"However there is now sufficient evidence to suggest that these pictures are fakes and that the Daily Mirror has been the subject of a calculated and malicious hoax. The Daily Mirror therefore apologises unreservedly for publishing the pictures and deeply regrets the reputational damage done to the QLR and the Army in Iraq."

Mr Morgan was fired and escorted from the Mirror's headquarters in Canary Wharf, in London's Docklands, following a board meeting at Trinity Mirror. The meeting, which followed expressions of concern from two significant shareholders, was attended by the company chairman, Sir Victor Blank, its chief executive, Sly Bailey, and several non-executive directors. An insider said: "Sly was determined that he should go."

The board meeting came after Trinity Mirror received a demand from one of the shareholders, Isis, that the publishing company should meet it to discuss its concerns.

The Armed Forces minister, Adam Ingram, denounced the photographs as fake on Thursday after an investigation by the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police concluded that the scenes had been staged in a lorry in the car park of a Territorial Army barracks near Manchester.

Colonel David Black, a former QLR commanding officer, reflected the mood of vindication at the regiment. "It's time that the ego of one editor is measured against the life of the soldier," he said. A Defence minister, Ivor Caplin, said: "His decision to resign will be welcomed by the Queen's Lancashire Regiment and it will be welcomed by the Army as justification of their innocence."

However, the conduct of members of the QLR remains under the spotlight. A number of unnamed soldiers have made allegations to the Mirror about abuse of Iraqis.

Cabinet ministers were said to have been delighted on hearing of the demise of Mr Morgan, who led the Mirror in a strident campaign against the war in Iraq. One Cabinet minister said: "I knew as soon as the regiment said that soldiers were being killed because of the Mirror that his position was untenable. A lot of a us will be saying about time too.''

To the last, Mr Morgan was defending his position and claiming that the Government was questioning the veracity of the photographs to divert attention from the more important issue of the abuse of Iraqis by British troops. Yesterday afternoon he told the ITV News Channel: "All I want to say is we published the truth. We have revealed a can of worms. If the Government chooses to ignore that, it is entirely a matter for them."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Déjà vu: David Tennant returns to familiar territory with Anna Gunn (‘Breaking Bad’)
tvReview: Something is missing in Gracepoint, and it's not just the familiar names
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?