Kate McCann was left feeling "mentally raped" after the 'News of the
World' published the private diary she had been keeping for her missing
daughter, the Leveson inquiry into press standards in the UK heard
The journal in which she had been recording her inner-most feelings,
after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from a holiday apartment in
Portugal in 2007, was so secret that not even her own husband had read
The diary was seized by the Portuguese police as part of their
investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine.
But the inquiry was told that in September 2008, and without any
warning, the 'News of the World', published the journal under the
headline: 'Kate's Diary: in her own Words.'
Mr Sherborne, the lawyer representing the McCanns, along with 50 other
victims of alleged press intrusion, said the experience had left her and
the whole family feeling violated.
He asked Lord Justice Leveson: "How did the 'News of the World' get this
from the police? Did they buy the information, obtain it through some
form of deception? We may never know now."
Mr Sherborne went on: "The publication of this material with a picture
on the front page suggesting she had provided this herself left her
feeling mentally raped, her husband says, and is it any wonder? As if
the McCanns didn't have enough to deal with."
Mr Sherborne also said that the singer Charlotte Church would explain
how her life had been blighted on many occasions by intrusions from the
tabloid press, particularly the 'News of the World'.
The inquiry is expected to hear how a story in 2005 under the headline,
'Church Three in a Bed Cocaine Shock' detailed an affair her father had
Mr Sherborne said: "The effect on her parents, and particularly her
mother, someone the press would call the innocent party, was absolutely
He said the story had been obtained through phone-hacking and shortly
before it was published Ms Church's mother had attempted suicide.
Mr Sherborne went on: "In an act of great sensitivity, as Ms Church will
explain, following the article published, the newspaper approached her
mother directly and persuaded her to give them an exclusive, despite her
fragile condition, as part of a Faustian pact that in return they would
not return another lurid follow-up story about her husband's affair."
On the third day of the public inquiry, set up by British Prime Minister
David Cameron in the wake of the hacking scandal, Mr Sherborne launched
a searing attack on the tabloid press in Britain.
He told the inquiry that phone-hacking at the 'News of the World' was
more like an "industrial revolution" than the "cottage industry" as had
previously been suggested by Robert Jay, counsel for the inquiry.
But he said the inquiry was about more than just the illegal
interception of voicemails.
He said his clients would one -by-one paint a vivid picture of the
"despicable" actions of some tabloid journalists, which had led to a
breakdown in the trust between the press and the public in Britain.
There were possibly 10 stories in each edition of the 'News of the
World' which were the product of phone-hacking alone, even leaving aside
the other dark arts practised by the newspaper, he said.
While he recognised this was "speculation", he added: "There is other
evidence which suggests higher figures."
The 'Harry Potter' author JK Rowling is also expected to give evidence
to the inquiry where she will describe her battle for privacy.
Mr Sherborne said: "The family have still photographers and press camped
outside her house. Her young children have had notes placed in their
"Pictures of them have been snatched whilst they've been enjoying
quality time on holiday.
"She will explain the very real corrosive effect that this has had on
The actor Hugh Grant is expected to tell the inquiry how in recent
months Tinglan Hong, his former girlfriend and the mother of his
daughter, has been subjected to terrifying harassment from paparazzi
photographers. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
- Martin Evans in London