Kate McCann, the mother of missing toddler Madeleine, felt “mentally
raped” when her private diary was published in a tabloid newspaper, the
Leveson inquiry has heard.
Mrs McCann‘s thoughts and feelings about her daughter’s disappearance
were printed in extracts from her personal journal, which appeared in
the News of the World in 2008.
David Sherborne, the lawyer acting for 51 victims of press intrusion,
told Lord Justice Leveson that the publication of the diary was a
“blatant intrusion” into the McCann family’s private live.
They “begged for restraint” but little was shown, Mr Sherborne said.
The News of the World later apologised for printing the diary, which was
leaked by a reporter after being in the possession of the Portuguese
The revelations came on the third day of the Leveson inquiry as the
• The mother of Hugh Grant’s baby allegedly received abusive phone calls
because the actor criticised the press.
• The News of the World tried to convince private investigator Derek
Webb to “become” a journalist by joining the National Union of
• Former Formula One boss Max Mosley believes the News of the World’s
coverage of his private life contributed to his son Alexander’s suicide.
• The mother of Charlotte Church tried to commit suicide after press
allegations about her husband’s affair.
• Not all 28 ‘corner names’ listed in the notebook of private
investigator Glenn Mulcaire were News of the World staff, contrary to
what inquiry counsel Robert Jay previously claimed.
• Mr Sherborne compared self-regulation of the press to “handing the
police station over to the mafia”.
• He said the tabloid press were part of the “see no evil, speak no
evil, hear no evil brigade” in covering up phone hacking.
• Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian newspaper, said 99 per cent of
journalists do not know how to hack and most do not come to work to
• Michelle Stanisbrook, general secretary of the NUJ, accused the Press
Complaints Commission of being a “self-serving gentleman’s club which
has failed abysmally”.
Mr Sherborne, whose clients include celebrities Hugh Grant and JK
Rowling, said Gerry McCann will address the inquiry next week to explain
how the Press Complaints Commission was “hopelessly inadequate” in
helping his family fend off media intrusion.
He said the pursuit of Madeleine McCann’s parents by tabloid newspapers
represented “some of the darkest days for this section of the press”.
Mr Sherborne also said Christopher Jefferies, the landlord of murdered
architect Joanna Yates, said he felt “raped” by the media vilification
of his character leading up to his arrest.
“It was a devastating destruction of all aspects of Mr Jefferies’ life,
from his professional to the deeply personal,” he said.
“Like clumsy thieves drunk on the intoxicating frenzy of a good story,
the press broke into his life.”
The Leveson inquiry into press standards was launched by Prime Minister
David Cameron in July at the height of the phone hacking scandal at the
News of the World.
Part one is expected to last three months.
The hearing will resume on Monday, when Lord Justice Leveson will hear
from 21 witnesses, including singer Charlotte Church and comedian Steve