The News of the World deliberately deceived the McCann family after obtaining Kate McCann's personal diary, the Leveson Inquiry heard yesterday.
Colin Myler, the editor of the now-defunct tabloid, ordered that the fact the paper had bought a translated version of the highly sensitive document in Portugal should be withheld from the family's spokesman.
The former head of news at the NOTW, Ian Edmondson, told Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry that Mr Myler had told him to phone Clarence Mitchell, record the call but "certainly don't tell him that we're in possession of the complete diaries".
He said he was told to inform him "that we were running a story, but not tell him specifically what story". This deception, according to Mr Edmondson, was to prevent the McCanns from taking action that might stop publication.
The inquiry now has two different accounts of what happened at the NOTW in the run-up to the diaries' publication in 2008. Dr McCann has already told the inquiry that she felt "mentally raped" by the NOTW's story and said the diaries were a valuable personal link to her missing daughter, Madeleine.
A recording of the call between Mr Edmondson and Mr Mitchell has been given to the inquiry as evidence. In December last year, Mr Myler said Mr Mitchell had been informed that the NOTW posessed the diaries and knew extracts were going to be published – implying that the spokesman had given his permission for the story to run. This was immediately denied by Mr Mitchell.
Mr Edmondson was arrested last April on suspicion of phone hacking and is currently on police bail. Mr Myler was recently appointed editor of the New York Daily News, the rival tabloid to the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Daily Post. Questioned by the inquiry's counsel Robert Jay QC, Mr Edmondson described a "bullying" and "autocratic" culture which had continued under Mr Myler.