Glenn Mulcaire: In his own words, private detective at heart of phone-tapping scandal
Wednesday 08 September 2010
The private investigator jailed in the News of the World phone tapping scandal, Glenn Mulcaire, planned to write a book which would allege that the hacking of voicemails took place with the knowledge of senior staff.
A detailed synopsis of the memoirs, seen by The Independent, reveals that Mulcaire was prepared to implicate others at the newspaper by stating that, as well as taking instructions from the royal correspondent Clive Goodman, he was also routinely commissioned by executives.
The book, provisionally titled Hear to Here: The Inside Story of the Royal Household Tapes and The Murky World of the Media, was never published because Mulcaire signed an £80,000 confidentiality agreement with the News of the World after he sued for wrongful dismissal following his conviction. But Mulcaire, who was was paid more than £2,000 a week by the newspaper, did write a five-page synopsis with a would-be author. Due to the gagging order, the document is the only time Mulcaire has explained his actions in his own words.
In the proposal, he claims that he would receive up to 20 calls a year from staff at the News of the World. The assertion matches the findings of Mr Justice Gross, the judge who sentenced Mulcaire at the Old Bailey in January 2007, who said that he was satisfied that Mulcaire has dealt with "others at News International" beyond Goodman when he listened to the voicemails of public figures including Max Clifford, the Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes and supermodel Elle Macpherson.
In a sample chapter titled "The Approach", Mulcaire recounts receiving the telephone call which instructed him to tap the phones of members of the Royal Family. He writes: "It was just one of those normal calls. I'd get around 10 or 20 each year. 'We've got information we want you to look at, get yourself here as soon as you can.' It was from the News of the World. Never the politest of people. But I was under contract so there was little choice to get over there..."
In the following chapter, "The Operation", Mulcaire adds: "I didn't want to do the assignment. Anything that involves the Royals or the Establishment has me twitchy straight away, but I was under contract and you just have to switch off about the specifics and be professional. That's what you have to be to be a good private investigator and I considered myself to be among the best."
Mulcaire's phone-tapping exploits began to unravel in November 2005 after the publication of a News of the World story, written by Goodman, which revealed that Prince William had "pulled a tendon in his knee" – something only a handful of people knew.
In an outline for a chapter called "The Greed", Mulcaire explains that he stopped tapping phones for three months after questions were raised about the source of that story. But he eventually continued: "We had the security breach. I wanted to stop there. I knew any more would be pushing [our] luck, but Goodman was hungry. In the end I was given no real choice. He knew I could give him access to a cash cow. One call from me and he could get a royal exclusive. But most importantly he knew I was under contract. I was told in no uncertain terms, stop now and you will never work in the media again. What choice did that give me?"
The outline for the book also promises potential publishers that Mulcaire would reveal who commissioned the taps, who he reported to at News International.The News of the World declined to comment on the claims made by Mulcaire in the synopsis. The newspaper denies that there was any "widespread culture of wrongdoing" among its staff.
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