Kate McCann felt 'violated' by newspaper


Kate McCann told the Leveson Inquiry today that she felt like "climbing into a hole and not coming out" when the News of the World printed her intensely personal diary.

She described feeling "violated" by the paper's publication of the leaked journal, which she began after her daughter Madeleine disappeared on holiday in Portugal in 2007.

Mrs McCann, 43, said the diary - which was so private she did not even show it to her husband Gerry - was her only way of communicating with her missing daughter.

She had just returned from church on Sunday September 14 2008 when she received a text message from a friend which read "Saw your diary in the newspapers, heartbreaking. I hope you're all right", the press standards inquiry heard.

Mrs McCann recalled that this came "totally out of the blue" and left her with a "horribly panicky feeling".

The News of the World had apparently obtained a translation of her diary from the Portuguese police and published it without her permission, the inquiry was told.

Mrs McCann said: "I felt totally violated. I had written these words at the most desperate time of my life, and it was my only way of communicating with Madeleine.

"There was absolutely no respect shown for me as a grieving mother or a human being or to my daughter.

"It made me feel very vulnerable and small, and I just couldn't believe it.

"It didn't stop there. It's not just a one-day thing. The whole week was incredibly traumatic and every time I thought about it, I just couldn't believe the injustice.

"I just recently read through my diary entries at that point in that week, and I talk about climbing into a hole and not coming out because I just felt so worthless that we had been treated like that."

Mr McCann, 43, said his wife felt "mentally raped" by the News of the World's publication of the journal under the headline: "Kate's diary: in her own words."

Mr McCann said the story gave the impression that his wife had authorised the publication of the diary.

"This added to our distress as it gave the impression that we were willing to capitalise financially on inherently private information, which could not have been further from the truth," he said in a statement to the inquiry.

The News of the World's then-deputy editor, Ian Edmondson, had told the couple's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, that the paper was going to run a positive article that week but did not mention that it had a copy of Mrs McCann's diary.

The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, also described how News of the World editor Colin Myler "beat them into submission" after they gave an interview to a rival publication.

Mr Myler was "irate" when he learned that they had spoken to Hello! magazine around the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance to promote a Europe-wide alert system for missing children, the inquiry heard.

Mr McCann said: "He was berating us for not doing an interview with the News of the World and told us how supportive the newspaper had been.

"He basically beat us into submission, verbally, and we agreed to do an interview the day after."

The couple said on other occasions they had to stop newspapers from publishing untrue stories, giving the example of a false claim that they had undergone IVF treatment to have another baby to "replace Madeleine".

There was another time when they had to persuade a Scottish Sunday paper not to publish a photograph of them with Madeleine as a baby, which a journalist had obtained from Mr McCann's mother Eileen, the inquiry was told.

Mrs McCann said: "They were fighting it, actually saying 'We've got the picture'. It was like 'It's our daughter'. Incredible."

Mr McCann acknowledged that the media had helped the couple to launch appeals which brought in "huge amounts of information" about the possible whereabouts of their daughter, who was nearly four when she vanished from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve in May 2007.

He described how the early support they received from journalists gradually changed over the summer and they came to face a barrage of negative headlines.

After they returned to Britain in September 2007, photographers camped outside their house, hid behind hedges and, on several occasions, banged on their windows, the inquiry heard.

The couple eventually took legal action against Express Newspapers, and in March 2008 received £550,000 in damages paid to their fund to find Madeleine and front-page apologies in the Star and Express titles.

Mr McCann called today for reforms to press regulation, including rules banning the publication of photographs of private individuals going about their business without their written consent.

Explaining why the couple wanted to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, he said: "It is for one simple reason, in that we feel that a system has to be put in place to protect ordinary people from the damage that the media can cause by their activity, which falls well below the standards that I would deem acceptable."

Meanwhile, lawyer Mark Lewis, who represents a number of phone hacking victims, claimed today that the illegal interception of voicemails was "much more widespread" than just the News of the World.

He told the Leveson Inquiry that hacking the phones of celebrities and other people in the news was "too easy to do" for journalists.

And he suggested that reporters, at least initially, thought of the practice as no worse than driving at 35mph in a 30mph zone.

Mr Lewis also told the inquiry that News of the World journalists wrongly concluded that Professional Footballers Association (PFA) chairman Gordon Taylor was having an affair after hacking his phone.

He said the paper's reporters misinterpreted a voicemail message from a woman expressing her gratitude to Mr Taylor for speaking at her father's funeral in which she said: "Thank you for yesterday, you were wonderful."

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry in July in response to revelations that the now-defunct News of the World commissioned a private detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press in general.

The second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their investigation into alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police and any prosecutions have been concluded.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
Life and Style
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions